TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — Hundreds of Elvis fans descended on Tupelo, Saturday, for the annual Elvis Fan Appreciation Day at the Elvis Birthplace.
They came to visit the birthplace home, the Elvis Birthplace Museum, and the restored church that Tupelo’s most famous native son attended.
The Elvis Birthplace wants visitors to learn about a young Tupelo boy before he became perhaps the greatest entertainer of all time.
“There is only one place in the world that Elvis was born. And we claim that,” says Dick Guyton, Executive Director of the Elvis Presley Birthplace. ”And I think it’s important for people to know the early years of his life. Everybody knows Elvis the entertainer but why was he such an outstanding entertainer? It was because of some of the things, most of the things that happened as he was growing up here in Tupelo.”
Mayor Jason Shelton was just a year old when Elvis died. But he grew up in the same neighborhood.
“I’m very proud of the fact that I grew up here in east Tupelo, when to Lawhon school and able to be on the same stage that Elvis Presley was once at Lawhon school and grew up playing right here at the Elvis Presley birthplace,” Shelton said.
Sarah Palmer is President of the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club. She says younger fans need to carry the torch.
“That’s what it’s all about getting this younger generation to take over when we are gone, those that knew Elvis, those that went everywhere and followed him all over the United States,” Palmer said. ”I did as a teenager. And seen him here in ’56.”
Guy Harris was Elvis’ boyhood friend, who remembers when they sang together at church.
“What I really like is his gospel music because that’s what we sang down at the little Assemblies of God when it sat in front of my house on Adams Street,” Harris recalls.
Saturday’s Elvis Appreciation Day was an international affair with visitors from places like Spain, Italy, Germany, and Great Britain.
David Wade runs Strictly Elvis UK, which is the largest Elvis fan club in the United Kingdom. He says John Paul, George and Ringo don’t have anything like it.
“There is no Beatles organization in the U.K. which is anywhere near as big as our Elvis organization,” Wade points out. ”And when you think about that you think well the Beatles being British surely they’ve got a huge fan club, they don’t have.”
Wade says his British fans love coming to Tupelo because of the friendliness of the people here.