Priscilla Presley came into the spotlight as the partner one of the most famous entertainers in history. 60 years on, and her style and fashion are still celebrated at the Miss Priscilla Dinner. Proudly sponsored by Goodsell Machinery, the evening is a wonderful night where you can see the bevy of beauties and their stylists compete for the coveted title of Miss Priscilla - Face of the Festival.
The Miss Priscilla winner becomes a Festival celebrity, performing official duties and appearing at key events throughout the Festival, and there is even a bigger reason to enter this year with the Miss Priscilla competition winners including her hair and make-up stylist, all heading on the P&O 'Tribute To The King' cruise in July.
Festival Founder, Anne Steel said the Miss Priscilla Dinner and its entrants were a highlight of the Festival. "Miss Priscilla is treated as a celebrity with Festival fans wanting to snap a photo at every appearance," she said. "She is such an important part of the Festival and becomes a part of our history."
There are two other competition categories on the night in the Festival's 'Speedway' theme, Miss Speedway which is the best look-a-like to Elvis' movies co-star Nancy Sinatra, and Speedway Novelty Hair where hairdressers can be creative and have fun with car themed hairstyles.
The event will follow the Festival's 'Speedway' theme, so outfits that reflect the theme, racing cars and the late '60s era are strongly encouraged. There are also prizes up for grabs for those who make the effort to be part of the fun.
The 2022 Goodsell Machinery Miss Priscilla Dinner will be held at 6.30pm on Thursday, April 21 at the Parkes Services Club. Tickets cost $68 and include a two-course dinner with entertainment from leading Australian Elvis tribute artist Dean Vegas, local Parkes trio Amitie, and a fashion parade by the contestants of the Viva La Vintage pin-up pageant.
For those looking to still get dressed up and enjoy the vintage fun without entering, there are plenty of workshops to get involved in.
Marilyn Monroe Little Rock Workshop
Join Sharyne Jewell and Dance Like A Diva for a fun workshop based on the iconic "Two Little Girls From Little Rock" from the 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Thursday, 10.30am to 12pm.
Vintage Showgirl Burlesque Workshop
A fun and playful bump 'n' grind dance workshop for lovers of all things vintage. Thursday, 5pm to 7pm.
Speedway Sirens - Pinup in the Flash Workshop
This is a splendid way to feel fabulous about yourself, discover vintage styling, hair and make-up, and tutorials on how to pose. Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 12pm to 2pm and 3pm to 5pm.
For 29 years the Parkes Elvis Festival has been entertaining locals and visitors alike. While the Festival may now be world renowned, it has humble beginnings. The story goes that after a dinner party, Bob and Anne Steel decided to host an Elvis party at their Gracelands Restaurant in Parkes, with the first Elvis party held on the nearest weekend to January 8 (Elvis' birthday).
After contacting others in Parkes to so who may be interested in the idea, Michael Greenwood (the current Parkes Shire Tourism Manager at the time), called a public meeting and the Parkes Elvis Revival was born. From this small group of people, the first Elvis Festival dream came to life.
The inaugural Parkes Elvis Revival started in 1993 on Friday, January 8, complete with official proceedings, dancing and competitions at Gracelands, followed on the Saturday morning with a flea market and memorabilia display. A number of other events were held while local shops decorated their windows, and a small but successful street parade featured, setting the scene for future years.
Over the next 10 years more events were added to the program and the Festival became a two-day event. Thanks to the vision and efforts of new committee members, the Festival experienced a surge in popularity in 2004 and 2005. In 2020, more than 24,500 visitors attended the Parkes Elvis Festival, which now enjoys a worldwide audience of over 400 million fans.
After being named the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champion by Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) in Memphis in August 2019, Taylor Rodriguez will have fans speeding their way to Parkes for four high-energy concerts as part of the Parkes Elvis Festival.
Hailing from US town of Lynchburg, Virginia, it will be Taylor's first time performing in Australia having fallen in love with Elvis' music at the age of six listening to 'Blue Suede Shoes'.
He started performing at nine and went on to be crowned the 2019 Tupelo Elvis Festival Champion before taking out number one at Memphis.
Taylor's portrayal of The King has landed him in many musical productions and he was eager ahead of his trip to Parkes. "I am beyond excited to attend Parkes Elvis Festival," he said. "This will be my first time to Australia and I can't wait to celebrate the life, legacy, and music of Elvis Presley."
Parkes Elvis Festival Director, Tiffany Steel, was just as excited as Taylor and said his concerts were not to be missed. Taylor Rodriguez will perform four shows at Parkes Elvis Festival backed by the dynamic eight-piece Tributes In Concert Band.
Tickets for the 2022 Parkes Elvis Festival Feature Concert Series are on sale now at www.123tix.com.au.
Thursday April 21 at 8pm- 1956 The Hillbilly Cat.
Friday, April 22 at 8pm - Lights, Action, Elvis.
Saturday, April 23 at 8pm - Reflections of the King
Sunday, April 24 at 8pm - Back in Memphis '69 - '77
The amount of entertainment and activities at the Parkes Elvis Festival truly is jaw-dropping. From karaoke, lip synching and busking, to vintage workshops, competitions and amazing concerts, there is something for everyone.
Of course one of the most popular events is the Northparkes Mines Street Parade, which is the major annual highlight of the Parkes Elvis Festival and draws people from all over both to take part in the parade itself, or just sit back an admire the stunning display.
Enjoy Elvis-themed floats, Elvis and Priscilla look-a-likes, vintage and classic cars, motorcycles and marching bands as they head from Bushman Street to Cooke Park down the length of Festival Boulevard on Clarinda Street.
Everyone is welcome to enter the parade and anyone looking for inspiration can look back at photos from previous years to get a sense of style and come up with some creative ideas.
Northparkes Mines are sponsoring a $1,000 prize for the Best Float at the 2022 Festivals, so get imaginative, get those creative juices flowing and make sure you enter for your chance to win. Entrants must nominate a school, sporting or not-for-profit community group to receive the cash prize.
While there is almost an endless list of live music and performers across Parkes over the four days of the Festival, the Parkes Hotel's Open Mic competition provides the opportunity for anyone to join in the musical celebration. Not only can performers entertain the crowd, there is also the chance to share $1000 in prizemoney for those judged the best.
Shane Burke from the Parkes Hotel said they were expecting a great turnout for the competition. "There is always the busking comp and professional musicians around, but this give the chance for anyone to have a go," he said.
"We just wanted to try something different and I think that quite a lot of people will be keen to perform and possibly win some prize money."
The Open Mic competition will see a heat held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 3pm each day, while the final will be held at 3pm on Sunday. The winners will be judged by the crowd in a ballot system, and Shane said that any type of performance is welcome.
"People can sing along to backing tracks, play their own instruments, recite a poem or do some comedy- it is all about just jumping in and getting involved."
For those who might be a bit shy about performing in front of others, the Parkes Hotel will also be holding Elvis Trivia, Elvis Karaoke and live music across the festival weekend. Be sure to check out the Parkes Elvis Festival website for the full weekend's program.
I would like to welcome our friends to the Parkes Shire for the 29th Parkes Elvis Festival. The King may left the building for a short while, but I'm excited to say that Elvis is back. Now that communities are back open and events are back on, it's time to step out and support your local economy. Events like Parkes Elvis Festival provide a huge economic boost to our region and I thank you for visiting and supporting the Parkes Shire community.
While visiting our region, I encourage everyone to explore the diverse range of tourism attractions including the world-famous Parkes Radio telescope 'The Dish', the Henry Parkes Centre, Quentin Alpaca Farm and the Peak Hill Open Cut Experience. The team at the Visitor Information Centre can help you plan your next trip to Parkes to attend more of our events such as the Trundle Bush Tucker Day.
We are proud to bring you a jam-packed with a program of rockin' n' rollin' fun. The five-day line-up features hundreds of events including much-loved festival favourites Northparkes Mines Street Parade, Renewal of Vows Ceremony, Goodsell Machinery Miss Priscilla Dinner, plenty of free Cooke Park main stage entertainment and more.
On behalf of the Parkes Shire, I welcome you to our region and wish you a safe, adventurous and enjoyable Parkes Elvis Festival. Finally, a big thankyou to our dedicated volunteers, sponsors, supporters, local businesses, community members, and Council staff who make the Festival possible.
While not all of us are blessed with musical talent, it won't hold you back this Parkes Elvis Festival, with the Coachman Hotel launching their Lip Synch Battle. With the Festival weekend starting to wrap up on Sunday, Terrie Clark from the Coachman Hotel though it would be a great opportunity to keep the fun swinging along.
"We had been chatting with the Festival committee and they suggested the lip synch idea, which we thought was great," she said. "Sunday is normally a bit of a wind up day, so we thought that this would give everyone a chance to get up and perform and just have fun."
While entrants can perform almost any song, Terrie said there would obviously be a soft spot for any Elvis hits. "Of course we want to see people up doing their best Elvis impressions, but people can lip synch whatever they like," she said. "There will be some prize money on offer for our best entertainers who will be judge by Elvis ambassador Al Gersbach, Karen from Memphis Motor Inn and a surprise judge."
So grab your best outfit and start practicing those lyrics and dance moves, because the competition promises to be tight. Entrants can either enter before Sunday or at the venue on the day, however anyone looking to enter must be at least 18 years of age.
There are many competitions that people are able to take part in at the Parkes Elvis Festival. From karaoke and look-a-like's through to photography and art competitions, no matter what your talent is, there is an event to join in.
However, perhaps the most popular competition, and one offering some serious bragging rights, is the Busking Championships.
This year the town of Parkes will be rockin' with the Bringing It Back Busking Championships as the footpaths, street corners, cafés and shop fronts along Festival Boulevard as it becomes a stage for the brilliant array of talented, quirky and beginner artists performing for Festival fans passing by.
Competition coordinator, Councillor Ken McGrath, said the whole town was looking forward to the return of the competition that highlights the talents of so many performers. "It's amazing to see just what buskers can do with their performances and adding to the atmosphere if the Festival," he said.
"We have some fantastic buskers that take part each year whether it is playing Elvis hits or just general music, and in fact many of our buskers have gone on to become Elvis impersonators or create their own Elvis tribute shows."
The Busking Championships have been held for approximately 20 years and really help bring the Festival to life. Cr McGrath said that there are already 30 buskers registered to take part this year and he is keen to see the performances live.
"It's great to see what people can really do and we have such a range of buskers from singers and guitarists to trumpeters and saxophone payers," he said. "Whether it's playing an Elvis song, a rock 'n' roll classic, or even their own songs, there are always some talented people performing."
To take part, buskers must register and perform over at least two days of the competition and for at least four hours (juniors one hour) per day. There are Junior and Open categories with great prizes on offer.
A team of independent judges will score the buskers on song choices, crowd size, appearance and performance quality. Each entrant will then play two songs at the Royal Hotel on Saturday, between 3pm and 5pm, after which the Top 3 will be decided. They will battle it out on Sunday for the title of Bringing It Back Busking Champion in the finals which will be held on the Cooke Park Main Stage at 1pm.
Entries for the 2022 Bringing It Back Busking Championships are now open. Entry is $20 for the senior competition and free for juniors. For more information, or to enter the competition, visit www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au/competitions/busking.
The theme for the 2022 Parkes Elvis Festival is "Speedway", dedicated to Elvis' 1968 musical hit movie about a race car driver with a heart of gold. Everyone attending the Festival is encouraged to join in the fun and dress in theme, so think go-go dresses with boots, overalls, garages, racing suits, checkered flags and racing cars, and of course that famous red and white striped jacket. It's also a great opportunity to watch the movie if you're short on ideas.
Every day there will be a Speedway Exhibit, hosted in the former Broderick's car yard at 375 Clarinda Street. It's a free event and will be open throughout the Festival. On display will be over 30 racing and speedway cars, a Holden Dealer Team showroom, racing memorabilia including suits and items owned by Peter Brock and other greats. There will also be racing simulators with ticket sales donated to Ronald McDonald House.
Parkes Elvis Festival Director, Tiffany Steel, said having such an extensive display was a great boost for the Festival. "We are absolutely thrilled to share this collection of racing and prestigious cars, along with racing memorabilia and virtual reality simulators in this free exhibition," she said. "The Elvis shuttle bus service will have a stop in Mitchell Street right outside the entrance, making getting to and from the exhibit very easy."
There are a number of vehicle displays throughout the Festival including the Classic and Heritage Vehicle Show (Friday, 10am to 4pm, Festival Boulevard), Cars of the Era (Saturday, 11.30am to 4pm, Short Street), and the Kombi Display (Saturday, 12pm to 5.30pm, Festival Boulevard).