| Apr 21, 2011

Back in 1989, the Ottawa chapter of the Elvis Sighting Society said that Elvis Presley was alive and living in Tweed.

Although this never really caught hold in Tweed, an “Elvis is Alive” Festival was held there for several summers in the 1990s. However, not much has happened on the Elvis front in Tweed since then, in spite of the Toronto Sun sending a reporter to Tweed to look for Elvis in 2005.

All that is about to change this summer. The first Annual “Tweed Tribute to Elvis” Festival is set to go on August 26-28 at the Tweed Fairgrounds.

The festival is one of four events in Canada that are sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises. Others are in Windsor, Penticton, BC, and Collingwood, with the Collingwood festival being the largest in the world outside of the “Ultimate Elvis Week” in Memphis each year.

The festival committee has been working on the event since last October, and in January the Tweed council endorsed the project and gave $15,000 in seed money to get it up and running.

Jim Keniston, one of the event’s co-chairs, said that the committee has sought the advice of the Collingwood event organizers and the general manager of the Belleville Waterfront Festival, and “while we are not going to have an event on that scale, we are hoping to attract up to 3,000 people.”

The core of the Tweed festival is an Elvis impersonator competition. The winner of that competition will progress to the semi-finals of the Ultimate Elvis competition in Memphis, which has a first prize of $20,000.

Bob Taylor from Northbrook is the entertainment co-ordinator for the Elvis festival. “In addition to the competition there will be a number of other events,” he said, “including a Elvis Gospel Inspiration Hour on Sunday, events on main street in Tweed during the festival including pancake breakfasts, classic car parades, pub crawls with Elvis, vendors, concerts in the park, and more.

“We now have ticket prices set and a weekend pass will only cost $40 for three days of music, or someone can pay $20 at the gate each day.”

The Elvis Tribute Artist Contest preliminary round will start with a one-song elimination round Friday evening and finish the preliminary elimination round Saturday. Saturday evening the remaining 20 performers will compete and Sunday the final ten tribute artists will perform to decide a winner.

More details about the festival will be announced in the coming weeks, after the official launch of the festival, which is slated for Tweed on May 14.

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