A record-breaking 22,000 Elvis Presley fans from across the country and the world gathered in Parkes for the 2016 Parkes Elvis Festival. The event ran from January 6 to 10, with 380 fans arriving on the Elvis Express train that departed Sydney’s Central Station on Thursday 7.
Thousands gathered to welcome the train at Parkes Railway Station at 4.30pm, eager to commence five days of ‘King’-sized festivities. Last Thursday night, leading U.S. Elvis tribute artist Donny Edwards kicked off the
Festival in style with a huge Opening Night Concert, the first of four ClubsNSW Keno Feature Concerts across the weekend. Edwards was backed by the dynamic eightpiece Elvis In Concert Band.
In a Parkes Elvis Festival first, a preliminary round of the 2016 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest was staged at Parkes Leagues Club. Jack Gatto from Victoria placed first, followed by Moses Kassas from NSW in second place and Brendon Chase from New Zealand in third. Gatto will now travel to Memphis, USA, to represent Australia at the Contest Semi-Final during Elvis Week in August.
Last Saturday the highly anticipated North Parkes Mines Street Parade saw over 14,000 people line the streets to enjoy the fiesta of Elvis-themed floats, vintage cars, motorcycles, walking groups and marching bands. Live nonstop entertainment at the Cooke Park main stage kept the party going all day and into the night with well-attended free Concerts in The Park on Friday and Saturday nights.
The 2016 Miss Priscilla, Face of the Festival, was awarded to Helen Rowbotham, of Parkes. She received the sash from outgoing 2015 Miss Priscilla, Ashleigh Smith, at a gala dinner on Thursday night. Festival Director Emily Mann said it was heartening to see locals and visitors come together to celebrate the legacy of The King of ‘Rock’n’Roll’.
“This year’s ‘Fun In Acapulco’ Mexican theme saw everyone get into the party spirit. We are pleased to have delivered a successful and vibrant event for the Central West,” she said.
In 2017 Parkes Elvis Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the theme ‘Viva Las Vegas’.