Well its over for another year, but Parkes Elvis Festival once again drew a record crowd of around 9.500 people last weekend.
I must say the festival this year was the best I have attended, for the 1st time you felt the town was behind it.
On our arrival in Parkes, we stopped at the BP Service Station on the approach to town and received a warm welcome from the attendant, as we were leaving he finished off with hope you enjoy your weekend in Parkes. I know this may seem trivial but it set the tone for the weekend, as Parkes residents embraced the festival like never before. It was then off to check into our motel. The Club Committee had booked accommodation at The Parkview Motor Inn. The owners Andrew and Leanne Porter (must be Kissin’ Cousins) gave us another warm welcome and went out of there way to make us feel welcome, they had large signs placed in strategic places Welcoming Elvis Fans, the rooms were clean and Andrew and Leanne were perfect hosts, they have a restaurant on site, very clean and the meals that we had at the hotel contained fresh local produce and of a high standard. (We have booked our rooms there again for 2010.
We quickly got settled, and headed back to the Main Street to meet up with our travel agents Michael and Veronika, who had arrived in town before us. It was pleasing to see that every store in the Main Street this year had displays in there windows and had gotten behind the festival. It seems that Parkes had decided to act on some of the negative stories that had floated around the Internet in the past couple of weeks.
We decided that we would visit as many venues as possible and get a feeling for the entertainment on offer. It was varied from Elvis Karaoke to Main line artists and during the course of the evening, I must have seen 20 different Elvis performers doing there tributes around town. Some good, some bad, but that is No different to Memphis for the 30th. The jump suited Elvis’ and Priscilla’s were in party mode, but the feeling in town was very good and we arrived back at the motel about midnight, after catching up with some friends.
On Saturday morning we were up at 5.00am to set up the club stand. The morning was quite cool and at 9.00am, I introduced myself to the Parkes committee as I had volunteered to judge a number of contests.
I was a judge for the
• Elvis Look-a-like contest
• Junior Elvis Look-a-like contest
• Junior Miss Priscilla contest
• Elvis Idols
• Junior Elvis Idols
Steve and Carmine Carmillio decided to represent us in the parade, they hitched a ride in a Cadillac of course.
The Elvis Idols contest had 24 entries both professional and amateur. It included three club representatives, Steve Head, Carmine Camillio and The Bearded Elvis.
Unfortunately the guys did not win, but were placed high amongst the 24 contestants.
During the lead up, a lot had been said about the contest and the winners, I must say that the judges of which I was one were split in regards to the actual winner. So after some discussion we decided the best course was to get the top two Roydon and Nick Savas to have a sing off, and for the 1st time the winner was actually picked by the crowd in attendance. I think the crowd in attendance enjoyed the opportunity.
Unfortunately the afternoon had a sudden down poor, so we hurriedly packed everything up and headed back to the hotel to change and once again hit town. We decided to attend Andrew Lennox’s Elvis/ Johnny Cash Tribute and afterwards attended a show by the Bearded Elvis. Before heading back to bed to catch a bit of rest for Sunday.
The highlight of Parkes is the gospel service which attracted a crowd of close to 3,000. It is a great event. We also set up the club stall back in the park and I judged some Rock ‘N’ Roll dance contests in the morning, before heading back to the club stall.
On our club stall, we certainly had a lot of you stop by and introduce yourselves. We had our end of the park rocking a number of times over the weekend with Steve and Carmine performing at the club stall and capturing a sizeable crowd during there performances, Michael and Veronika from Harvey World also assisted with information to those interested on upcoming tours and assisting in the selling of memorabilia. For our 1st event, things went really well. So much so we have already been invited back to be a judge and will set up the club stall bigger and better in 2010.
The ideas are already flowing.
On the Sunday night Steve performed a dinner show at the Parkview, which was attended by about 65 people and included Bob & Ann Steel the festivals organisers. It was a great night, due once again to Andrew and Leanne who made everybody feel and a part of the family (Thanks cous’). It also introduced a new singing group, the Crapettes to the fold. Keep practising girls, it can’t hurt. Look out for more shows there at next years event Steve will be doing a couple of nights.
Then on Monday it was pack-up time for our journey home after a relaxing breakfast with Andrew and Leanne. The drive home was interesting as Steve lead the procession out to Gunningbang for a look at a block of land and a journey through the New South Wales outback, He said he knew a shortcut it was only about 120klms longer than our trip out but we made it home about 7.00pm.
To finish off, I want to take this chance to thank, Andree, Steve, Adelina, Carmine, Claudia, Michael and Veronika, for all there help with the club stall and providing sound equipment and entertainment and talking to members during the weekend of our upcoming tours. It was a supper effort and I could not have done it without you.
To Ann & Bob Steel, Festival Committee and People of Parkes a big thankyou. It was a great weekend and I’m counting down to next year.