Elvis returns to Fairpark

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo’s second Elvis statue was unveiled Thursday night in Fairpark. The bronze sculpture replicates a 1956 photo by Roger Marshutz of Elvis performing at a homecoming concert in what is now Fairpark.
-Carlie Kollath Wells

VISITORS CAN USE their smartphones to access video from the concert via an interactive display.
The display also links to Tupelo’s promotional video, “Tupelove.” Visitors also are invited to download GPS coordinates for the Elvis driving tour.

THE INTERACTIVE DISPLAY features Elvis’ set lists during the afternoon and evening concerts he played in Fairpark in 1956.

THE TUPELO CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU and the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club commissioned the statue. The CVB contributed $50,000, and the Fan Club sold bricks to raise $25,000.

THE PLACEMENT of the statue is geared toward photo opportunities. Tupelo City Hall is in the background from one angle and Tupelo Hardware is in the background from the other angle. As part of the project, “Tupelo” was added to the sign on the north side of City Hall.

BILL BECKWITH made the sculpture in his Taylor studio. He also has made sculptures of Chief Piomingo, William Faulkner and B.B. King

ELVIS FACES the birthplace. His hand is stretched out so visitors can reach up and touch his fingertips like they would when he was performing.

THE STATUE is a little larger than life-size. It’s 7 feet tall and is on a 4-foot-tall base.

FANS FROM AROUND the world bought bricks. All 200 of the smaller bricks sold out.

PHILIPS DAY-BRITE donated the lights for the statue

THE BASE IS made out of aggregate concrete, which was the popular style used in the 1950s. It has eight sides because Elvis’ favorite number was eight.