By Adam Ganucheau/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo officially kicked off Elvis Festival weekend Thursday with the unveiling of an Elvis Presley marker.
The marker notes Mud Creek Swimming Hole, where Elvis spent many of his summer afternoons as a child. The marker is the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau’s 11th on the Elvis Presley Driving Tour and is located just behind the Eastwood Softball Complex at the Music Bend Nature Trail.
“This has been a spot that we’ve wanted to mark on the driving tour for a while,” Tupelo CVB Deputy Director Stephanie Coomer said. “When the parks and recreation department opened up the nature trail, we were thrilled to get the chance. It’s one more authentic spot that Tupelo has to tell about Elvis when he was here.”
Mayor Jack Reed Jr., wife Lisa Reed and Elvis’ childhood friend, Guy Harris, spoke at the unveiling, which was emceed by musician Memphis Jones. Harris recalled stories of when the two would play in the creek before Elvis moved away to fame.
The unveiling was the official start to the Elvis weekend, which is expected to bring thousands of tourists to the city.
“I just love coming to Tupelo for anything Elvis-related,” Memphis resident Mary Pat Van Epps said. “This creek was his childhood and this is where he came from, so we all know that this was where he had some of the most important days in his life.”
Coomer said the unveiling of the marker was a perfect way to kick off the weekend, and Mayor Reed echoes those sentiments.
“For the Elvis world, this (unveiling) is so monumental,” Reed said. “For the city of Tupelo, it’s great. Hopefully this will help lengthen the stay of visitors to the city. It just adds so much to the appeal of the city for residents and visitors. This is such a great way to kick the weekend off.”
9:30 A.M. – Round 1 of Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Preliminary Competition with The EAS Band at Lyric Theatre (SOLD OUT)
Fairpark Outdoor Music Festival (tickets available at the gate for $10,
gates open at 6 p.m.):
6:30 P.M. – Elvis Tribute Artist Brandon Bennett
7:15 P.M. – Kirk Chism and The Lost Highway
8:30 P.M. – The Cadillac Three
10 P.M. HEADLINER – Cowboy Mouth Lyric Theater Concert (tickets available)
7 P.M. – Kevin Mills, Brandon Bennett with The EAS Band (Lyric Theatre)
LATE NIGHT (free, Broadway Outdoor Stage): Big Jim and Argo Dance Party