Heritage festival celebrates Presley’s parents

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

VERONA – As Tupelo honors Elvis Presley, the citizens of Verona will celebrate his parents, Gladys and Vernon Presley.
On June 17, 1933, the elder Presleys said their wedding vows at Verona Town Hall. That event will be recreated on Saturday during the Verona Heritage Festival.
Over the past three years, the festival has taken place closer to the anniversary. Organizers moved the date this year to entice visitors who might be in Lee County for the Elvis Presley Festival in Tupelo.
“It’s going to be a great time,” said Sue Burt, a planning committee member for the Verona festival. “We’ll have a variety of music and fun things to do.”
The festival, located at College and Main streets, will open at 6 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. The opening ceremonies will be at 10 a.m. Throughout the day, Elvis tribute artists and other entertainers will perform.
“We’ll have door prizes every hour on the hour,” Burt said, “and we’ll have cakes, cookies and pies for sale.”
A motorcycle poker run will start at 10:30 a.m., and players will compete for up to $100 in prizes. That’ll be followed by a pet parade at 11 a.m.
At 2 p.m., actors will reenact the marriage of Vernon and Gladys.
“We’ll have an antique car bring them up to the town hall,” Burt said. “That always excites the kids.”
The man who “marries” the “Presleys” is a Methodist minister, and he’ll set up shop after the re-enactment for couples wishing to renew their wedding vows.
The festival will close at 6 p.m. with an open mic opportunity for folks who want to sing “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Going to the Chapel” or anything else.
“Come join us for a good old-fashioned day,” Burt said.

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.