Elvis statue unveiled in Fairpark

By 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 the Fairpark area.

Photos from Neal McCoy of the statue leading up to be unveiled included.

Here are some facts about the statue.

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

• 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.

• 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 placement of the statue is geared toward visitor photo opps. Tupelo City Hall is in the background from one angle and Tupelo Hardware is in the background from the other angle. The signage was changed on City Hall to add “Tupelo” as part of the project.

• Bill Beckwith made the sculpture in his Taylor studio. He also sculptured Chief Piomingo and William Faulkner.

• The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club funded the project. The CVB contributed $50,000 and the Fan Club sold bricks to raise $25,000.

• Fans from around the world bought bricks. All 200 of the smaller bricks sold out.

• The interactive display features Elvis’ set list during the 1956 and 1957 concert in Tupelo.

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

• Philips Day-Brite donated the lights for the statue.

Read more and see more photos in Friday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.