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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elvis Week 2008

It’s mid-August, so it must be Dead Elvis Week. Not to be irreverent, but that’s what a lot of people around here call this period to differentiate it from Live Elvis Week in January. This week commemorates the anniversary of Elvis’ death 31 years ago. If I said this is a huge event, you’d have to multiply that several times to get the full impact.

I doubt that there’s a vacant hotel room anywhere within 50 miles of Memphis. Fans of the King from around the world make this pilgrimage to Memphis, their Mecca. Beale Street and other tourist attractions will be packed. There will be Elvis music at venues all over town. Dead Elvis Week attracts a much larger throng than the birthday week – probably because people can schedule summer vacations to accommodate this trip, and because it’s so darn cold in January and the prospect of snow and ice is always just a couple of thermostat degrees away.

An event that will be sorely missed this year is the annual Dead Elvis Ball at the P&H (poor and hungry) Café downtown. Mike says the P&H is a true joint, but it was the whimsical site of the “formal” event for many years. Unfortunately, they announced last year that it was to be their last tango. Maybe it became too blasé for even the blasé.

The highlight of the week is the Candlelight Vigil beginning at 8:30 Friday night at the gates of Graceland. After an opening ceremony at the gates, fans are invited to walk up the long driveway and around to the back of the house to Elvis’ gravesite. After pausing for a reflective moment, they walk the rest of the way around the mansion and back down the driveway carrying a candle. Last year, approximately 80,000 people paid their respects.

Admission is free and gates remain open until all who wish to participate in the procession have done so, which typically takes until the early morning hours of August 16, the anniversary date of Elvis’ passing.

Here’s a sampling of other activities taking place during the week.

Kids Karaoke

Elvis Meetup at Marlowe's – no-host everything

Elvis Week Kick-Off Party at EP's Delta Kitchen on Beale Street – 10 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Elvis Gospel Breakfast
Graceland Trivia Scavenger Hunt
Music and (Elvis) Movies at Graceland – a multi-day event on the spacious front lawns of the mansion
Malco Theatre's Elvis Film Fest 5
Elvis Presley Fan Club Reception

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest
Elvis Expo 2008 – Elvis tradeshow with more than 75 booths and 35,000 square feet of Elvis that includes all the latest Elvis music, movies, merchandise, celebrity autograph sessions, authors, artists and photographers, and lots of Elvis freebies and samples.

The Official Elvis Insiders Conference multi-day
Blue Hawaii Breakfast at Graceland

Mass In Memory of Elvis Presley - St. Paul Catholic Church, spaghetti dinner to follow
George Klein's Elvis Memorial Service – noon, Saturday. Klein is a local tv and radio personality who was a long-time close friend of Elvis.

Elvis Week Art Contest & Exhibit (on black velvet?)

Elvis Fan Club Festival


Willow Goldentree said...

I believe it was this time last year (Dead Elvis week) that you and I first met. :)

I'll drink a Blue Hawaiian to that and Elvis!

Lacy said...

I'll be there Fri-Sun.

Scarlett said...

Lacy, Mike and I might drop by the Expo. We haven't decided.

Willow, I think you're exactly right. You liked the Elvis stuff and became a regular reader and friend.

For everybody else -- Willow and hubby have entered a youtube video contest for Post-It Notes. Here's the link to their video, which I think is great.