Monday, June 4, 2012

Tupelo Elvis Festival

Saturday we woke up early and headed north to go to the Tupelo Elvis Festival. We've heard good things about this event, and the website made it look pretty awesome, so we figured why not go check it out. Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, and lived there for some of his childhood, and the city is extremely proud of this fact, so every year they put on what is supposed to be the best Elvis festival around, complete with a preliminary round of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition. There was a parade to start things off, and we made sure to leave home early enough to get to Tupelo in time to fight for a seat along the parade route so we wouldn't miss a thing. When we got there, expecting to have to hunt for parking and then for parade seating, this is what we found along the parade route.
Surely we'd made a mistake. Were we too late? Too early? Did we have the wrong street? So, with only 10 minutes until the beginning of the parade, we decided to hunt around and find out what was up. So we followed the signs to the festival headquarters, and this is what we found there:
Huge crowd, right? We verified the parade details, and we had the right place and time, so we went back to see what would happen. Finding a place to sit was a piece of cake, and we settled in to wait for the parade to start. Here is what we saw.
This was the best Elvis, Ethan and Erik actually got pictures with him later in the day. I didn't post pictures of all 15 of the Elvis's, but here's a sampling of some of them.
The winner of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition:
Elvis with enough grease in his hair for 3 Elvis's:
Young Elvis, who thought that because he's "young Elvis" he didn't need a costume:
Ummm, you can think of a caption for this next one...
This guy's idea of an Elvis costume is having black hair, and wearing a scarf and a huge gold watch:
After the Elvis's, there were two floats (and a few other cars representing different businesses but they looked just like any other car driving down the road so they didn't make the cut here). This first one was our favorite, because they gave us coupons for free milkshakes!
And that was it. The parade didn't take too much longer to drive past where we were sitting than it probably did for you to read this post, so we had almost a whole hour to kill before the free live entertainment started back at the festival headquarters. We wandered around downtown Tupelo and looked all all the little shops, and the fun old buildings. It was fun to just wander around and see the town.
In case you can't see the letters on here, this is a monument to the CSA (Confederate States of America). It was a neat statue, and really interesting to look at.
All over down town Tupelo are these guitars, painted by different artsits to honor Elvis.
Erik was SO not excited about having to wear his hat. We battled over that one all day! He did really enjoy his string of beads one of the Elvis's threw out at the parade though.  

Finally, it was time to make our way back towards the festival and see what was on the program for the free, live entertainment. "Elvis" walked up onto the stand and we were all set to hear a fake Elvis concert. Turns out he was just the emcee for the Elvis Pet Look-a-like Contest. There were five dogs dressed up as Elvis that took turns parading around the stage, but apparently this little guy is some kind of local celebrity, and the crowd went NUTS when he came on the stage. After the pet show, we decided to call it quits and go get our free milkshakes.
 We did make one last stop though, as we were headed back to our car. Ethan just couldn't pass up this photo op.
We went to Sam's Club and hit all the sample tables (Saturdays at lunch time is THE time to do this by the way), hit Sonic for some lunch, and then Chik-fil-a for our milkshakes. Then we headed back home again. It really was a fun day. It was nice to get out of Starkville and do something different, even if it wasn't what we had thought it was going to be.

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