Parkes Elvis Festival 2008
This year the main part of the 16th Parkes Elvis Festival was held from January 11th to 13th, covering the weekend after Elvis's birthday.
The main features of the weekend were:
- tribute shows by world-class tribute artist Mark Andrew
- Elvis Gospel Celebration - interdenominational service on the Sunday morning
- street parade
- Elvis look-alike contests - junior and adult
- Priscilla big hair contest (helped by local hairdressers)
- Priscilla look-alike contest - junior and adult
- meeting the Sydney to Parkes Elvis Express
- marriage vows renewal ceremony
- gigs in various venues
- market stalls
As with last year, this was a laid-back fun festival where everyone was friendly and welcoming. Although it could have been embarrassing to see so many people wearing jumpsuits and silly wigs, it was just fun and not meant disrespectfully to Elvis. Wherever you went, there were Elvises. Even Priscilla was everywhere. An estimated 7,000 people attended.
On the Sunday, there were at least 2,100 people present at the Elvis Gospel Celebration. Its theme was '"The Impossible Dream": Holy Longing'. There was a dramatic start with Mark Andrew making an entrance at the front of a motorbike cavalcade. Mark led with "Amen" Elvis-style, and later "Let Us Pray" from the Elvis movie Change of Habit.
Rev. Thomas Stuart spoke of Elvis's longing and searching for God, and his passion for music and gospel songs, in particular. Gospel songs included "I've Got Confidence", "Lead Me, Guide Me", "Peace in the Valley" (sung by a quartet), "If I can dream" (sung by Dameon Guiness) and, of course, the theme song, "The Impossible Dream". Lexine Solomon led the congregation singing "Amazing Grace" and "Oh Happy Day"