Fans of Elvis Presley rejoice, for there is a festival in Australia made just for you. While Elvis-themed events are nothing new, the celebration in Parkes is one of the largest, bringing in more than 20,000 people in recent years to express their love of this iconic cultural phenomenon.
It happens every January during the second weekend, set to coincide with Elvis’s birthday. For five days, from Wednesday to Sunday, people dress up as the singer, enjoy his music and participate in all sorts of themed events. This passing year marked the 20th anniversary of this successful undertaking.
So why did an Elvis festival pop up in Australia? Apparently, Parkes has a very high ratio of his fans among the population. Several of them got together back in 1993 and put the festival together. It started quite small, lasting for just a single day with only a couple hundred people taking part, but has grown each year since its founding. More events were added to the line-up and more people began to show up. Finally, it expanded to two days and eventually to the five day celebration that it is today.
Parkes Elvis Festival boasts more than 150 Elvis-themed events over the course of its five days. There are Elvis concerts throughout the city, an Elvis Gospel Church Service, a street parade featuring costumed impersonators, Elvis Lawn Bowling and “Elvis in the Park”. The less Elvisy things involve food-themed events, classic car and art exhibitions, dances and many other novel activities.
In 2013, Parkes Elvis Festival is set to take place from January 9th to the 13th. The popularity of the festival means that the small town is overwhelmed, so hotels get booked up months in advance. Luckily, the Elvis Express train runs straight to Parkes from Sydney and traveling on that bit of transportation has its own assortment of Elvis activities and is an experience all its own. If you’re a true Elvis fan and want to meet others who share your passion, check this unique and entertaining event out if you happen to be in Australia at the time.