The Party With a Purpose for 92 Years
The Grand Krewes of Carnival Memphis
The official support groups of Carnival play a crucial role in the pomp and pageantry that creates the magic and mystique of the celebration!
The Grand Krewes of Carnival Memphis Shortly after the successful inception of Carnival, the founders decided to increase participation by adding support groups from the greater Mid-South community. These organizations, currently called Grand Krewes, have members from many walks of life and throughout the Memphis area. Each Grand Krewe is an autonomous organization, having its own board of directors, executive committee, royalty and members.
The main purpose of a Grand Krewe is to support the mission and goals of Carnival Memphis and participate in the events hosted by Carnival Memphis and the Grand Krewes. Members of each Grand Krewe have the opportunity to raise funds for the Carnival Children’s Charity Initiative and each organization has a member sit on the annual charity selection committee. Grand Krewe members are able to attend the Business & Industry Salute Luncheon as well as all social events held by Carnival Memphis and interact with all members and past and present royalty and board members.
The average size of the current ten Grand Krewes is between 50 and 75 members, although some are significantly larger. Each Grand Krewe has at least a half dozen or more events per year, with some holding monthly and/or weekly events. Dues for Grand Krewe members can range from $150 to $500 depending on the group and some include event attendance in their dues.
The Mystic Society of the Memphi was founded in 1872 and sponsored the original Memphis Mardi Gras celebrations of the 1800’s. Memphis was re-started in 1933 to become the first support group of Carnival Memphis. Throughout the city’s history, Memphi has proudly supported Carnival and the betterment of the community.
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The most ancient known Carnival was the festival of Osiris in Egypt, which had it’s origins in rites tied to the coming of Spring. The Grand Krewe of Osiris was founded in Memphis in 1934. The Krewe colors are bright red and white, and its symbol is the Great Eye of Osiris.
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The Grand Krewe of RaMet was chartered as The Mystic Society of RaMet in the year 1938 as the third support group of Carnival Memphis. The name came from Ra, god of the sun, and Maat, goddess of truth. Its successive Royalty, as King Ra and Queen Maat, has reigned since its founding. Members of RaMet represent a broad spectrum of occupations in the Memphis area. Annual highlights of RaMet include the Asking Party, Flagman’s Party, Duchess Party, Christmas Party and Last Nighter’s
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The fourth of the original secret societies, now Grand Krewes, Sphinx was established in 1935. The founders took the name from the mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. Grand Krewe of Sphinx members have a long standing tradition of serving the Mid-South community.
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Recognized in Egyptian mythology as the patron god of ancient Memphis, Ptah was founded in 1970. Ptah’s annual Black Tie and Tennis Shoe Ball is the ultimate experience for fun and outlandish costumes.
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The Singles Krewe in one of Carnival’s most active group. Between bridge and supper clubs, theater and travel groups, golf, tennis, and almost any social activity possible, Ennead’s members have somehow found time to set fund raising records yearly in support of the Children’s Charity Initiative.
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Established in 1998, the Grand Krewe of the Royal Society of Queen Bees offers an avenue of distinction for various groups of individuals already in the Carnival realm. Membership includes the wives of the King and President of Carnival and the Queen of Carnival and her mother. The current year’s Grand Krewe Queens are recognized as honorary members and invited to become Queen Bees at the end of their reign.
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The Grand Krewe of Phoenix was established in 1998 with the goal of “Partying With a Purpose!” Phoenix members have “PHun” working together to help make Memphis the best it can be by helping children’s charities throughout the community while maintaining its rich traditions. Each year Phoenix “Rises from the Ashes” with new officers, royalty, theme, and spirit. Their signature events are their themed Coronation Ball, Karaoke Party, Phoenix Games, and Tuesday night Clubroom during Carnival week.
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The Grand Krewe of Ptolemy was formed in 2000. The mission of Ptolemy is to serve as a vehicle for a diverse range of people to enjoy Carnival Memphis and thereby uphold and perpetuate its traditions. Ptolemy will strive to present an array of festive events during Carnival week and present community service opportunities throughout the year. Just as the Ptolemaic dynasty melded Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures to a greater whole, this dual emphasis on activities will preserve a rich tradition while building a future for Carnival Memphis.
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Established in 2004, Carnival Memphis’ newest Grand Krewe takes its name from the Arabic word el-Uqsur, meaning “encampment of fortification.” The Grand Krewe of Luxor was incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit organization in order to support the Carnival Children’s Charity Initiative and other local charitable events.
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