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Thousands expected to attend annual Cooper-Young Festival

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tents and tables are beginning to pop up in Midtown as the Cooper-Young Festival is just hours away. The annual festival shuts down the Cooper-Young Area and draws thousands from all over the Mid-South.

Event planners said 130,000 people attended this festival last year.

Organizers said there will be extra patrols on hand, more than 175 police officers and reserve deputies will be at the festival along with three emergency stations in case something happens.

"I start on this festival the day after tomorrow. This is a year-long job for me," said Tamara Cook, Executive Director of the Cooper-Young Business Association.

The Pronto Pup stands are up. In less than 24 hours, the Cooper-Young neighborhood will be filled with thousands of people.

Cook said this year there will be 435 art stands and 24 food stands as well as plenty of music and entertainment.

"Counting on hundreds of people coming in the door," said Christopher Darling, manager of Celtic Crossing Irish Pub and Restaurant.

It's not just specialty vendors looking to cash in. Businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood look forward to this weekend all year.

Darling said his restaurant is ready for the crowds.

"All kinds of staff in the building, outside of the building," said Darling.

Darling said it's not just his restaurant that will see a boost.

"Even smaller businesses around here get the exposure it brings to the neighborhood."

Celebrating local business, which is why Cook says this popular festival was created in the first place.

"That was the whole reason they started the festival years ago this whole area was kinda depressed, and we really needed a bunch of people to come down and listen, look and see what could happen if they wanted to open a business or buy a house," said Cook.

It starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and lasts until 7 p.m.