“It started with a passion, it started with a dream.”
These words echoed through the auditorium at the Parkes Leagues Club on Wednesday night at the 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner.
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate 25 proud years of the Parkes Elvis Festival, where one of the biggest Elvis fans and collectors Greg Page acted as Master of Ceremony.
The night featured a number of distinguished guests, including Parkes mayor Ken Keith and councillors, Parkes Shire Council marketing team, members from the Parkes Elvis Revival Committee and festival founders Bob and Anne Steel.
There was also mention Lisa Curry was among those present.
The String Family opened the event beautifully, followed by the night’s main act Elvis Tribute Artist Mark Andrew.
Guests were treated to a two-course meal, and then a slice of the delicious 25th anniversary cake, as Mr Page told the history of the Parkes Elvis Festival and of Elvis Presley throughout the night.
Among some of the highlights was a special video message from Priscilla Presley herself, congratulating all those behind the Parkes Elvis Festival on its 25th year.
Formalities took place towards the end of the night with Cr Keith speaking of the three successful ingredients that has made the Elvis Festival what it is today.
“It did have a rocky start 10 to 12 years before it really started to take off,” he said.
Cr Keith said the support from council and its first marketing team, spearheaded by Kelly Hendry.
“The second is the Parkes Rugby boys who dressed up and sent out a secret message to come and have fun,” he said.
“The third [was the birth of Elvis].”
Bob and Anne rose from their seats to also make a speech and had the honour of cutting the remarkable anniversary cake made by Parkes local and master cake decorator Kath Swansbra.
“We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love doing it,” Bob told guests of their continual active role in the festival to this day.
“All of our surrounding towns are getting something out of it too, and isn’t that good for country NSW.
“It’s been a real pleasure, I’m overwhelmed [to watch it] go from strength to strength.
“Thank you all for visiting our little town.”