VOL. 130 | NO. 3 | Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Tupelo Plans City-Wide Events to Celebrate Elvis Birthday
TUPELO, Miss. (AP) – On Thursday, Tupelo launches a birthday celebration fit for the king of rock and roll.
Seven organizations will participate in a city-wide event schedule, culminating with an Elvis Presley-themed concert from the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Richard Marx.
"It was time to step up our game as it relates to Tupelo and Elvis' birthday," said Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Neal McCoy.
"We wanted to see what we could involve and incorporate from our community to help celebrate Elvis' birthday. We feel it's a pretty good reflection of what our community has to offer, and hopefully things Elvis would be proud of today," McCoy told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/1tHCOZC)
The Elvis Presley Birthplace will host their annual birthday party Thursday for the late musician, who would have been 80 this year. Events continue throughout the day with a sing-along version of the film "Jailhouse Rock" at Link Centre and a theatrical production, aptly named "Graceland" at Tupelo Community Theatre's Off Broadway location.
"In years that end in five or zero, we always get bigger crowds," said CVB spokeswoman Jennie Bradford Curlee. "We wanted to build in more things for people to see and experience around town."
The schedule for Friday is packed, starting with an exhibit at CVB, topped off with free banana pudding.
"Elvis' first appearance was on WELO on Mississippi Slim's radio show, broadcast from the courthouse," McCoy said. "So, we're going to do a Mississippi Slim exhibit here in the lobby, with the local food trucks here and free banana pudding."
In addition, the Gumtree Museum will be hosting a party with the opening of an Elvis art exhibit from Betty Harper, an officially licensed Graceland artist and music from the Memphis Jones Trio.
Friday concerts will also take place at the birthplace with Elvis tribute artist David Lee and special guest Tara Kay as Reba McEntire, and at the BancorpSouth Arena with Eric Church and the Outsiders.
"It's good to have so many choices," McCoy said. "We're hoping these become annual-type events for the city. It's a great way to come out of the hibernation of the holidays and get into the ebb and flow of the arts in our community."
McCoy plans to make Tupelo the place to be for the birthday event.
"So much of Elvis is traced back to Tupelo. It's a singular event - his birth," he said. "It's a great draw for us and we wouldn't have another chance to do something really big for the birthday until 2020, for the 85th, so we didn't want this to get away from us. We hope this will invite people to always want to be in town for the birthday."
Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He was 42 when he died Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.
Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, www.djournal.com
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