By W. Derek Russell
TUPELO – Different accents and dialects all spoke the same language in Tupelo on Sunday – Elvis.
Dozens braved the cold to attend the annual birthday celebration for Elvis Presley at the birthplace and museum on Sunday. The late musician and pioneer was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935. He would have been 82.
“This date is always important to Tupelo,” said Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum executive director Dick Guyton. “It’s important to us here as well. We have people come in from all over the world to help us celebrate his birthday. Today is no different.”
Groups from the U.K. as well as travelers from the continental U.S. were on hand to take part of the festivities, complete with a sing-along of the birthday song and a slice of cake for the local and international party-goers.
Charles Bernard and Guillaume Ducreux landed in Mississippi on Thursday, via Paris, France. They’ve spent the last several days shooting in Tupelo and Memphis for Ducreux’s TV show, roughly translated, “The Fan Tour with Guillaume” for France’s Travel Channel. The program depicts Guillaume visiting the homes of famous individuals throughout history, like Leonardo da Vinci and the King of Rock ’n’ Roll himself, Elvis.
“We like visiting different places that were important of the life of and the history of a character,” said Bernard, the series’ director. “We go to those places where these people spent a little bit of their life. Right now we’re focusing on Elvis, Tupelo and Memphis for 10 days. We meet the fans, chat with them and have fun. It’s very funny entertainment.”
Guyton welcomed the film crew along with others in the main hall of the museum ahead of the cake cutting.
“Elvis was always a giver,” he said. “He gave back to his fans and gave back to people that didn’t even know him that he didn’t know. Over the years, we’ve tried to do the same thing here at the birthplace and give to the fans like he would have done and give to the community like he would have done. It’s a fun time for the fans and a fun time for us to see friends that we’ve made over the years that come from all over.”