For the 33 years since Elvis Presley‘s death in 1977, there has been a fan commemoration at Graceland, with thousands of fans making the pilgrimage to be near the hallowed ground of Graceland and Elvis’ grave. The quiet march by thousands of candle holding fans up the long Graceland driveway on the eve of the date of the death of the kingÂ lasts most of the night. Elvis Presley Blvd. (US Hwy 51) is closed to vehicular traffic. I braved the 95+ degree heat, to be a part of this celebration. While I didn’t make the trek up the driveway, I was there to be part of the experience. Here is a short video I put together. I probably greatly underestimated the number of fans in attendance
Over the years, what started as a spontaneous act by fans has evolved into a week-long event, now orchestrated by Elvis Presley Enterprises.Â Elvis Week is loaded with Elvis related activities. Here are some photos from the vigil:
I am a little bit late in announcing Elvis Week this year, but the best is yet to come.Â Check out the OFFICIAL SCHEDULE.Â Still lots of great events to enjoy.Â For this week Memphis is Mecca for tens of thousands of Elvis fans, and many who just like to watch.
If you have never been to the Candlelight Vigil,Â go on down to Graceland Sunday evening.Â You don’t have to participate in the actual candlelight pilgrimage up to the Meditation Garden.Â Just being in the crowd with Elvis Presley Blvd. closed for the evening is quite an experience in itself.Â Â See you there!
Regardless of our ages, we Memphians have had Elvis in our presence as long as we can remember.Â I know folks with Elvis tattoos who weren’t even born in 1977, the year Elvis died.Â Let’s face it, the boy from Tupelo willÂ live on forever in the hearts and minds of millions (maybe billions).Â And that brings me to the annual August pilgrimage event Elvis Week,Â or as many locals refer to it – Elvis Death Week.
Well, Jimmy Buffett does a fair job here, but if you want to see REAL fake Elvi (what is the plural of Elvis?), there will be hundreds around Graceland during Elvis week – a mind-boggling array ofÂ sideburns, glasses and jeweled jumpsuits.Â And Elvis “tribute artist” competitions. But mostly, its the pilgrims, fans from all over the world, converging to worship the kingÂ and absorb the Elvis essence from August 10-16.
I think Gillian Welch captures some of the Elvis essence in this song.Â Â Wikipedia features 6 pages of entries for the search “songs about Elvis”.Â Â I will will be posting more about Elvis week.Â See you there.