Every year, on the second weekend of January, people gather from near and far to a town called Parkes in Central West NSW to celebrate one man.
The King. The Hound Dog. The man in the Blue Suede Shoes.
The 2016 Parkes Elvis Festival was the 24th festival held looks to have smashed all previous records it held, with an estimated 22,000 people attending the five-day event.
Now while Parkes may not be an obvious destination choice for a festival dedicated to American-born Elvis Presley, it’s the spirit and determination of the small town which allows the Festival to grow to be “bigger and better” each year, as declared by local media outlets.
There are a number of self-declared Elvis fans in Parkes. One of whom changed his name to Elvis by deed poll and another pair who operated ‘Gracelands Restaurant’ for many years.
The Festival was conceived by these and other passionate community members who recognised the potential for a fun event. January was identified as the perfect time to stage the event, being a slow time in local tourism and coinciding with Elvis’ birthday on January 8. The first Festival was held in January 1993.
In that time, the Elvis Festival has cemented Parkes on the map, making it not only known for the CSIRO Dish which helped document man walking on the moon, but for a town full of spirit to honour the King of Rock ‘n Roll. Considering visitor length of stay, bed nights, ticket sales, food and transport costs, the Festival brings an estimated injection of over $13 million into the local economy, according to local media outlets.
Big Blue Digital has been honoured to work with the Parkes Shire Council to promote the Elvis Festival for a number of years, to produce a responsive website to provide updated information for the Festival-goers each year.
Each year, the Festival program grows and there are now approximately 150 individual events held in parks over the five days. Notable events include the headline Feature Concerts Series, the Elvis Gospel Service, the Northparkes Mines Street Parade, non-stop free entertainment in Cooke Park, the ever so popular Renewal of Vows, the Miss Priscilla Dinner, Poets’ Breakfast, busking, dancing, cake decorating and so much more!
Not everyone has to drive to the Parkes Elvis Festival either… The Elvis Express, which runs between Sydney to Parkes, is an annual highlight for Festival-goers. The Elvis experience begins before the travellers even arrive in town, with on-board entertainment in the form of an Elvis impersonator at their beck and call.
One of our Client Relationship Managers, Damon Leigh, was lucky to attend the Elvis Festival this year, for the very first time!
Choosing to attend on Saturday, January 9 for the highly anticipated parade, Damon gave his experience a 5 Star rating.
The quirkiness of the Festival was what stood out to him the most, recounting his delight when he spotted a peddle-car re-modelled as The King’s red Cadillac, with a mini Elvis and Priscilla chauffeured by a fully-grown Elvis.
We’re already planning a Big Blue Digital family outing to the 2017 Festival to support Damon in his new venture as a parade entrant in his Mustang! We certainly can’t wait to be All Shook Up from the Elvis experience!
Long live The King!