Santa may not be coming to town, as sung in the kids song, but Elvis sure is. The annual Elvis Festival returns to Tupelo, Mississippi this weekend, June 4 - 6. Though this is only the 12th year the festival has been held, it is already an international event, welcoming fans from all over the world. The organizers continue to add events to the festival and this year promises to be the best one ever.
For starters, the annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist (UETA) contest will get underway on Friday, the 4th, with 43 artists from across the country competing for cash and prizes as well as a chance to represent Tupelo in the UETA semi-finals in Memphis, TN later in August during Elvis Week. According to Daphene Hendricks, of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, last year's winner of the Tupelo competition went on to win the Memphis event so the competition should be very exciting. As an added attraction, previous UETA champions Bill Cherry, Brandon Bennett, and Shawn Klush will all perform in concert.
The festival also offers other varieties of music at Fairpark from local and regional musicians and singers. Concerts will be on Friday and Saturday and will feature such artists as Paul Thorn, Robert Earl Keen, and Cowboy Mouth. Additionally, an old-fashioned dinner on the grounds will be held on Sunday at the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum with music provided by such nationally-famous entertainers as the Landmarks and the Martins.
While music is the theme that runs throughout the festival, many other events will be held that offer something for everyone. On Friday, there will be a block party on Broadway Street with music and dancing all evening. Then things heat up with a 5K run, the Elvis Festival Parade, an Elvis movie poster exhibit, a carnival, and a re-enactment of Elvis buying his first guitar from Tupelo Hardware.
Hendricks said that she expects this year's festival will be bigger and better than ever before and encourages everyone to arrive early and have a great time.
Many other events are scheduled. For more information, contact Daphene Hendricks at 662-841-6598 or go to www.tupelomainstreet.com.