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Kissin' Cousins Keep it Whacky at Parkes Elvis Festival

Story by Maryanne Jacques (Arts OutWest)


Parkes’ annual Elvis Festival (January 8-12) is a feast of the weird and whacky, with a good deal of quality art and entertainment buried inside.

An expected 18,000+ Elvis fans will gather in Parkes, doubling the population, to celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday. Record crowds are expected for the 22nd anniversary event.

The theme for the 2014 festival is ‘Kissin Cousins’ so except an added layer of country fair costuming and characters referencing Elvis’ 1964 film of the same name.

Hollywood star Cynthia Pepper, who starred alongside Elvis as his love interest, Midge Riley in ‘Kissin Cousins’, will be the official guest at the festival. The film, Elvis’ 14th, was an action filled frolic which saw Elvis perform a dual role as Josh Morgan and Jodie Tatum; feisty Midge ends up stealing the heart of mountain man Jodie.

The festival is a packed 5-day program of events including free main stage entertainment, look-a-like contests, a Tribute to Elvis Competition, the street parade, displays of Elvis memorabilia (including Greg Page’s collection The Kings Castle at the Henry Parkes Centre), the standing-room-only Elvis Gospel Service, cars of the era car show and over 100 unique Elvis-style events.

Popular Elvis tribute artist Mark Andrew is the headline act performing four shows during the festival, there’s the annual Elvis Art Exhibition, film screenings and for the romantic, you can take part in the renewal of vows ceremony.

Cooke Park in the heart of Parkes swells with hip swivelling Elvises and Priscillas who flock to the free main stage and markets. Over three days from Friday to Sunday the park hosts competitions, rock’n’roll dancing,  performances from Elvis tribute artists and two free outdoor evening concerts. Parkes Library will also host a special portrait photography workshop across the week.

If that’s not enough wackiness for you there’s the new Elvis Edible Art Competition. If you love both Elvis and cake decorating then make yourself an Elvis edible cake topper or plaque and enter it. Cake toppers and plaques will be on display and judged by popular vote at the Miss Priscilla Dinner on Thursday January 9 at the Parkes Services Club.

Dressing up is not compulsory but is very much part of the fun. Parkes Shire Council has put together a list of ‘Kissin Cousin’ themed dress-up ideas: Hillbilly, Daisy Mae, Bloodhound/hound dog, moonshine, stills, air force uniforms, kissing booths, candy kisses, straw hats, pig tails, overalls, corn cob pipes, checked gingham, beards, blonde elvis wigs, flannelette, mason jars, hay bales and hayrides.


Visit for more information or phone the Parkes Visitor Information Centre on 02 6862 6000