Thousands attend Elvis festival in Australia


Dressed in jumpsuits, capes and donning wigs and shades, Elvis Presley fans from around the world are gathering in the Australian town of Parkes to celebrate what would have been the late singer's 81st birthday.

The five-day Parkes Elvis Festival sees the population of the New South Wales town swell to more than double its size as fans of all ages from around the world come together to fete "the king of rock and roll".

The theme for 2016's event is the singer's 1963 "Fun in Acapulco" film, and many fans armed themselves with sombreros as they relived his music and movie work.

The Parkes Elvis Festival officially gets underway when the 'Elvis Express' train rolls into the Parkes station platform from Sydney. Carrying hundreds of Elvis fans and tribute artists on Thursday (January 7), the train was greeted by hundreds of locals and visitors wanting to welcome the Elvis and the Mayor of Parkes, Ken Keith, into the city.

%shareLinks-quote="We just love his voice and just the way he looked, but especially, he was just so kind to people, he was just down to earth" type="quote" author="Debbie Fiee" authordesc="Elvis Fan " isquoteoftheday="false"%

Keith says Elvis is still important today "because he had such wonderful music ... and I mean, just the fun and frivolity of an Elvis festival in Parkes just highlights the character of Elvis Presley and the town's embraced the concept and everyone that comes just has a great time."

Originally from South Carolina, Debbie Fiee traveled from Melbourne to be part of the festival and pay tribute to the king.

"We just love his voice and just the way he looked, but especially, he was just so kind to people, he was just down to earth," said Fiee.

While many Elvis tribute artists were on hand, some, like Graham Lawrence, just want the opportunity to dress like 'the king.'

"Basically, once you've got the suit on you are psyched up because everyone wants to take your photograph. It's just a buzz, probably like little kids when they go into their Superman costume."

Lawrence drove for 18 hours to be at his third Elvis festival.

The Parkes Elvis festival concludes on Sunday with various activities around the town and a parade in city center on Saturday.

Thousands Attend Elvis Festival in Australia
Thousands Attend Elvis Festival in Australia

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