Fans celebrate the King of Rock 'n' Roll

| 8/13/2002

Elvis Week '02 kicked off Saturday night in Memphis with a parade down Beale Street and the unveiling of Mobile Graceland, a traveling exhibit. This week's events commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

It's only natural that Mobile Graceland is hauled by a tractor-trailer rig. After all, one of Elvis' first jobs, as a teenager, was driving a delivery truck. The 53-foot trailer houses the ultimate in Elvis Presley memorabilia - Elvis' Army jacket, some of his stage clothing, a letter from President Nixon, the orange coveralls Elvis wore in the film "Viva Las Vegas" and a comb he used to shape his famed ducktail hairstyle in the 1950s. Starting in Memphis, the mobile display will travel to 30 cities including New Orleans, LA; Atlantic City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Cleveland, OH; Chicago, IL; St. Louis, MO; and Reno and Las Vegas, NV.

Elvis, who died in 1977 at age 42, ushered in the rock 'n' roll cultural revolution in the 1950s with hits like "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog." Graceland, Elvis' home in Memphis, attracts more than 650,000 people a year for tours.

The parade featured floats, hound dogs, Army tanks, the local police and fire departments, a marching band and such legendary associates of Elvis as Jerry Schilling and Sam Philips. The Memphis Police estimated a crowd of between 18,000 and 20,000 lined the parade route, up Beale Street to Elvis Presley's Memphis restaurant. Dubbed "The Elvis Presley 25th Anniversary Celebration of Life Parade," it culminated in a display of fireworks. Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist was grand marshal for the parade, which paid tribute to Elvis with floats that represented his music, his films, his Army service and his patriotism.

Sunday morning, fans had a gospel brunch with The Jordanaires at Elvis Presley's Memphis. That evening, fans danced the night away in the Memphis Ballroom of The Peabody Hotel.

Monday morning on the front lawn of Graceland, RCA will present the latest round of new RIAA gold and platinum awards and award upgrades Elvis has earned since the last presentation in 1999. In the afternoon, fans will gather in the Continental Ballroom at The Peabody Hotel for a fan forum to get the latest news from Graceland and the Elvis Presley Estate management.

The list of special events goes on and on - Elvis Night at Libertyland, Conversations on Elvis, Candlelight Vigil & Vigilcast at Graceland, Open House at Presley Place, and Elvis: The 25th Anniversary Concert at The Pyramin arena.

In the anniversary concert, the real Elvis Presley stars via video in this concert event with his real, original band members live on stage. Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley will attend the concert and each will be making a special greeting to the fans from the stage during the event.