City of Tupelo will celebrate Elvis' 75th birthday in style

TUPELO – The city of Tupelo is celebrating Elvis Presley with a party fit for a King – a King of Rock ’n’ Roll, that is.
Special exhibits, art and concerts will mark what would’ve been Elvis’ 75th birthday on Jan. 8.
The festivities will kick off Thursday, Jan. 7, at 2 p.m., when 14 metal guitars painted by students in the Tupelo public schools will be unveiled in downtown Tupelo.
The 6-foot guitars will be a permanent part of downtown Tupelo’s cityscape.
“These are something that will enhance our downtown area, like the Cows (on Parade Exhibit) in Chicago,” said Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo/Main Street Association. “It’s our unique flavor.”
Celebrations continue that night, with a concert by Elvis tribute artists Bill Cherry and Brandon Bennett.
Bennett won the tribute artist competition at the Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival in 2007, and then won the title of Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist in 2008.
Cherry, who won the Tupelo competition in June, went on to win the Ultimate Tribute Artist competition a few weeks later.
“He has such a respect for Elvis, and that shows in his performance,” Brangenberg said.
On Elvis’ birthday, a special exhibit will be unveiled at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau at 10 a.m. Linda Johnson, executive director of the CVB, couldn’t go into details about the exhibit but said it is a special project that the city is working on with Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Also at that time, “Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey” will open at the Tupelo Automobile Museum.
The exhibit, put together by Mississippi musician Marty Stuart, includes photos, costumes, lyrics and instruments belonging to musical legends.
Stuart also will perform and have a book signing, but details have not been confirmed, Johnson said.
Rounding out that day’s events is the birthday party for Elvis at the birthplace at 1 p.m. Dick Guyton, executive director of the birthplace, said large international tour groups have already confirmed their plans to attend. Cake and punch will be provided.
“And we don’t plan to run out of cake,” Guyton said, laughing.

Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or sheena.barnett@djournal.com.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal