Australian town filled with Elvis impersonators for annual Parkes Elvis Festival

For five days in April this year, the small town of Parkes in Australia was brimming with Elvis Presley impersonators and fans who had congregated to celebrate the musical legacy of the singer and actor.

The Parkes Elvis Festival saw over 200 Elvis related events across Parkes, which is 357 kilometres west of Sydney. The theme for this year’s celebrations was the actor-singer’s 1968 musical film, Speedway.

Every year in Australia, Elvis fans from around the world come together at Parkes. The festival is usually held in the second week of January so that the dates coincide with the birthday of the rock and roll legend on January 8. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival was cancelled in 2021 and this year, it was held between April 20 to April 24.

Talking about the event, Kristy Berry, a local business owner at Parkes, told Reuters, “We have missed it. Not only business-wise, but we’ve missed the people, we’ve missed the fun, we’ve missed the music.”

The festival, which first began in 1993 with just 300 attendees, has now become a global event. According to the official website of the Parkes Elvis Festival, it is “recognised as one of the top three Festivals and Events in Australia, the Festival attracts  24,000 fans with a global reach of more than 400 million.”

As per estimates by ABC News, the few days of the festival contribute over a million dollars to the local economy of Parkes.

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