By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Follow Adam Ganucheau @GanucheauAdam for updates from today’s events.
TUPELO – Elvis Presley’s 78th birthday will be celebrated with lights, music and cake – a birthday fit for a king.
Festivities begin today in Memphis, where Tupelo historian and filmmaker Roy Turner will be joined by Elvis’ childhood friends Sam Bell and Guy Harris at the Bijou Theatre at Graceland. The trio will discuss Elvis’ time in Tupelo at 1 p.m.
The event, which is free, also includes a screening of the “Tupelove” short film and a performance by the Tupelo Unity Choir.
In Tupelo, the party starts at 1 p.m. at the Elvis Presley Birthplace, where they’ll serve birthday cake.
Shortly after, fans can watch a short film about the Tupelo Unity Choir in the Elvis Presley Birthplace Theatre, and the choir will perform.
The film, created by Turner and John Wee, was commissioned by the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Elvis was greatly affected by the blues and Southern gospel music that he heard as a child in Tupelo. We commissioned this video to showcase the same music that was such a powerful force in Elvis’ success,” said Neal McCoy, Tupelo CVB executive director.
The day culminates with the lighting of the Elvis Homecoming statue in Fairpark at 5:30 p.m. The lights were donated by Philips, and Mayor Jack Reed Jr., Philips representatives and Tupelo Elvis Presley Fan Club members will participate in the ceremony.
Tuesday’s events are free.
Elvis fans have more to look forward to, as the Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival will unveil the 2013 poster and announce the music lineup Tuesday night at Park Heights.
Elvis birthday celebrations
1 p.m. – Tupelo historian and filmmaker Roy Turner will be joined by Elvis’ childhood friends Guy Harris and Sam Bell, who will share stories about Elvis’ time in Tupelo, at the Bijou Theatre at Graceland. Also includes screening of “Tupelove” and performance by Tupelo Unity Choir.
1 p.m. – Birthday cake, followed by premiere of short film about Tupelo Unity Choir and performance by the choir, at Elvis Presley Birthplace and Theatre.
5:30 p.m. – Lighting of Elvis Homecoming statue in Fairpark.