Today is the kick-off of what we in the Memphis area refer to as Dead Elvis Week. You see, there are two separate weeks of Elvis celebrations in Memphis. One is in January celebrating El’s birthday. There are a number of activities, but it’s pretty cold then and it’s not vacation time, so fewer thousands flock to Memphis for that event. This week, however, commemorates Elvis’ death in 1977. Fans from around the world pack up and head to Memphis to participate in the many and varied activities and to stand at the gates of Graceland.
Today’s kick-off events include a reception and a concert at the Overton Park Shell recreating one of the early concerts by the King.
There will be meet ‘n greets with former Memphis Mafia (Elvis’ guy pals) members, back-up singers, musicians, actors from those movies, and pretty much anyone who had an association with him and who wants to be here.
Also on the agenda are a 5k run, fan club presidents’ meeting, screenings of his films, Elvis tribute artist contest, monster parties, and a gospel breakfast on Sunday morning.
The big event, the candlelight vigil, will be on Sunday night. It is a free event and open to all. Visitors meet at Graceland’s gate and, at the proper time, will form an escorted line to walk up the driveway, around back to the gravesites of Elvis and his mother, then around the house and back to the gate. Each guest carries a lighted candle and walks in respectul silence. The gates stay open and guests may pay their respects as long as people are lined up. It generally takes most of the night.
I like to think that Elvis watches the procession from an upstairs window.
Here’s a link to the full schedule of events:
And here’e Elvis live singing Polk Salad Annie: