Neely-Dorsey: Elvis Week Celebrates a Mississippi Native Son

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Elvis Week is August 8 to August 16. Each August, Elvis fans from around the world gather in Memphis for a celebration of the music, movies and legacy of Elvis Presley and mark his death, August 16, 1977.

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Elvis Week includes events such as the Elvis Fan Club President’s Event, Elvis Insiders Event and Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, plus special concerts, panel discussions, dances and more. This year, on Wednesday, August 12, the new Elvis Forever Stamp will go on sale at midnight at the front wall at Graceland for fans who want to be among the first to purchase. You can visit the Graceland website for a full schedule of events.

The main event of Elvis Week each year is the Candlelight Vigil which always begins on the evening of August 15 and lasts into the morning of August 16. Fans walk up the driveway to Meditation Garden holding a candle in quiet remembrance of Elvis. Tens of thousands of participants gather on Elvis Presley Blvd. during the evening to listen to music, remember Elvis and enjoy memorials created by fans along the street.

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After graduating from Boston University, I lived and worked in Tupelo for a few years before moving to Memphis in 1988. My first apartment was on Winchester Road, less than a mile from Elvis Presley Boulevard and Graceland. Several of my favorite stores and the church that I attended were on Elvis Presley Boulevard. But during the night of the Candlelight Vigil I would always take the long way around and travel on Shelby Drive or another street well past Graceland to get where I wanted or needed to go.

Living in Memphis for many years and in the Whitehaven area for the first several years, I knew as well as all of the locals not to even try to get ANYWHERE on the evening of August 15, traveling on Elvis Presley Boulevard between Winchester Road and Holmes Road. It just was not worth the effort to try to tediously navigate through the throngs.

Though the main event of Elvis week for most fans is the Candlelight Vigil in Memphis, many Elvis fans and visitors start their celebration of Elvis Week in Tupelo: his Birthplace and my hometown.

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patricia dorsey

Patricia Neely-Dorsey is the author of two books of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems and My Magnolia Memories and Musings-In Poems. Through her poems, the author hopes to protect, preserve and promote the rich cultural history and heritage of her state and region along with providing more positive images than all of the negative images usually portrayed. Patricia lives in Tupelo with her husband James, son Henry and Miniature Schnauzer, Happy. The author has been named a Goodwill Ambassador for the state by Governor Phil Bryant. Her slogan is “Always, Always Celebrating the South and Promoting a Positive Mississippi ” Her website is www.patricianeelydorsey.com and her email is magnoliagirl21@yahoo.com.

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