The influence of the Parkes Elvis Festival is spreading.
Local woman, Gail Bartley enjoyed a special festival in New Zealand and reports on its success...
After the fabulous success of our very own Parkes Elvis Festival, and the wonderful response that Brendon Chase and Johnny Angel from NZ received, I had the pleasure of going over to New Zealand (Auckland) in March to attend their Elvis ‘n Gardens day.
For someone who has never been to New Zealand before, I was blown away by the beauty of the country; it was stunning and awesome seeing it on horse back.
(Yep, got to tick off on my list - beach/forrest horse ride).
The wonderful hospitality provided by NZ No. 1 Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA), Brendon Chase, and Lesa and their family, Johnny Angel, Stephen and Janice (the teddy bears) Naoimi Clarke; Cathy Finau; Kerryn Winn and Katrina...it was so unexpected and humbling.
I met some truly lovely people and made some wonderful friends.
Cathy Chamlers; Kay Shannon ( USA’s Ms Priscilla) and the very talented USA Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champion Bill Cherry, as well as the UK‘s Dean Craig and his son.
I came close to almost losing my voice talking about our fantastic Parkes Elvis Festival and of the Home Hosting program.
Every one I met wanted to know about Parkes and wanted to come in 2017 to support their boys (Brendon and Johnny) and to experience our festival for themselves.
So I think 2017 will be a massive one!
Ray White and I have already received more than 120 ‘new’ guest bookings for home hosting (does not include return guests) so we will be looking at wanting more homes than ever this year.
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Elvis n Gardens started seven years ago on a rugby paddock just outside of Auckland.
By the second year it was too big and the local council approached local man (and Elvis performer) Kerryn Winn to be involved with the event.
This year it was held in the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
The day (and yes, it was just one day from 11.30am-6.30pm) had around 20,000-plus people come in for free, yep free, to enjoy a wonderful day of international (three of them this year.) and local Elvis Tribute Artists.
The international performers they have had over the years include Bill Cherry, Ben Portsmouth (twice), Dean Vegas, Paul Fenech, Dean Craig, and from the start, always local NZ No 1 Brendon Chase, plus several other local performers.
This year was Che Orton, Steve Fitter and the talented Johnny Angel.
Organisers chose a charity to support for a bucket collection throughout the day; provided free bouncy castles and face painting for the children; and free onsite parking.
There were food stalls for those who did not bring a picnic.
And they had a Vintage Dress competition for both men and women.
There are a small number of sponsors 100% behind the event which was amazing to see.
I was very excited to be part of the day and to help out behind the scenes. Will be going back again for sure.