TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – The Tupelo Elvis Festival is in full swing, with thousands of fans from across the United States in the All America City.
Last year, the festival went virtual because of Covid 19.
For the first time in two years, the Tupelo Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition was live and in person.
The ETAs say there’s nothing like performing for live audience of Elvis fans.
“I was talking to the producer of the event and telling her, it feels so surreal , that we’re back here again doing this, it’s an honor to be back here in Tupelo,” said Taylor Rodriguez, the 2019 UETA Champion.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be working in Branson, Missouri, doing my show but on a festival circuit it’s a different type of thing where we see a lot of familiar faces and a lot of folks we don’t get a chance to see but at the festivals,” said Elvis Tribute Artist, Dean Z.
“A lot of the guys that are here and a lot of the fans, haven’t been blessed enough and comfortable enough to come out up until now, so this is their first event in almost two years, that’s insane, it means the world to come back here,” said Cote Deonath, 2018 UETA Champion.
The festival attracts fans from across the country, like Eileen Cook and her fellow Elvis friend, Candy Wolljung. This is the fourth Tupelo Elvis festival for both ladies, who say they missed coming to the singer’s birthplace last year.
“It’s just a nice southern town, everybody’s so friendly, all the fans, you can’t beat them, really swell,” Wolljung said.
“We love it, I’m happy with it, to see it on computer is one thing, but we love seeing everybody live and seeing all our friends we’ve made,” Cook said.
Listening to all the great music, walking around and shopping makes all those Elvis fans hungry. There were lots of options. Food Truck Friday was set up across the street at Fairpark and restaurants were ready for all those Elvis fans.
“Just to prepare for it, make sure we’re staffed up well, a little extra, we have a few drink specials at the bar inspired by Elvis, it does increase the business, quite a bit, being here next to the arena and near Fairpark, with a lot of foot traffic, see a lot of patrons coming in from a lot of places,” said Cody Parker, manager of the Grill at Fairpark.
The only ones missing from this year’s Elvis festival were the international fans. They are making plans to be back in 2022.
The Tupelo Elvis Festival runs through Sunday. For a schedule of events, go to tupeloelvisfestival.com