On August 16, 1977 the King of Rock and Roll left behind millions of fans not willing to say goodbye. He was a legend in the music world and is still revered as one of the most influential musicians in the 20th century. This past weekend, in the quiet town of Lake George, men and women flocked from all over the world to pay tribute to the King. It was a weekend of leather jump suits, blue suede shoes, hound dogs, and love songs. Over four days, the entire town seemed to celebrate the King; from tribute artists on the Minne-Ha-Ha, concerts in the park, vendors selling Elvis memorabilia, or dressing up like the King. The Lake George Elvis Festival was an experience of a life time which my entire family enjoyed and will not forget anytime soon.
On Thursday night it started off as a pretty simple festival with an Opening Night Ceremony at Shepard Park followed by an Interpreting Elvis concert showcasing Dwight Icenhower and Ted Torres. From that point, the “C’mon, Everybody” fun heated up with an Opening Night Party at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery.
Friday, with my husband and little one in tow, we headed out to see the first round of the Elvis Tribute Artist Competition. To be honest, I had no idea how competitive this competition was. There were tribute artists from all over the world; from the United Kingdom to Sanford, Florida. Some played guitars, some did not, but all were dressed head to toe in Elvis gear. It was wonderful watching everybody with their own interpretation. It was a talent show like no other. Later that night, my girlfriend and I headed out for the Tribute to Rock and Roll History concert. Now much of the music was “beyond my years,” but it was a blast nevertheless. A couple, who was seated beside us, had traveled all the way from Plattsburgh, NY and explained random music trivia to us throughout the show. The concert itself premiered several artists performing different music icons. My personal favorite was Mark Gagnon as Johnny Cash and Dwight Icenhower as Sir Elton John.
Other artists included Denny Diamond’s as Neil Diamond, Jesse Aron as Roy Orbison, Robert Washington as James Brown, and Ted Torres as Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley. After the show, patrons then continued the celebration at Boardwalk Restaurant.
Saturday, with much needed coffee from the night before, we returned to Lake George to continue the festivities. With the day barely started, we lined up with other Elvis fans along State Route 9 to watch the Elvis Classic Car parade. Honestly, I think this was my son’s favorite part and besides knowing that they were old cars, it was fun to watch.
Afterwards, we made our way down to Shepard Park to watch more Elvis performers. Next we followed it up with a lunch at Boardwalk Restaurant while being serenaded by another Elvis tribute artist. If that wasn’t enough, we then boarded the Minne-Ha-Ha at 1:30 to watch Ted Torres pay homage to the King with the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake George in the background. Later that night, after a nap, more coffee, and a friend watching our son, we returned to the Lake George forum for another concert; Evolution: The King’s Journey. What an experience! During this show, Ted Torres, Dwight Icenhower, and 2009 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champion Bill Cherry, performed song after song of Elvis’ most popular hits. Women lined up along the staged as Bill Cherry handed out silk scarves. It was absolutely hilarious and my husband and I enjoyed every minute. Of course one of the best parts of the show was meeting other fans, some of which whom had actually seen the King in concert.
Sunday, the fourth and final day, I’m afraid my family and I were too tired to continue to rock and roll. But they had an Elvis Gospel Music Contest, an Elvis Wedding Ceremony for several couples, the competition finals and awards, and a festival wrap party at Steel Pier. All of which, if I wished I could have gone to, but I don’t think there would have been enough coffee in the world. Nevertheless, the Elvis Festival was as entertaining as any festival I’ve ever been to. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to a concert where I’ve seen a wider scope of fans; much less fans so willing to share their stories. So basically what I am saying is if I wasn’t an Elvis fan before, I sure am now. Many of the songs I heard over the weekend never knew were Elvis hits. And if you missed out, well you always have the Las Vegas show less than two months away. As the King would say, “Viva Las Vegas!”
Just a side note, I like to thank Kelli Fritz for helping me with the photos!