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Local Elvis sightings

August 20, 2006|By Kelly Strodl

Most six-year-old boys grow up idolizing superheroes — Batman, Spiderman, guys who can fly or shoot stuff from their arms. Not Ryan Rose. His superhero swayed his hips to a different rhythm.

For Ryan it's all about blue suede shoes, rock 'n' roll and "Heartbreak Hotel." It's all about Elvis Presley.

Four years ago for Halloween, Ryan received his first glittery Elvis jumpsuit from his mother. Now the rest of his Elvis costumes come hand-delivered from another man in a suit.

"Santa Claus brings his new jumpsuits every year," Ryan's mother, Kelly Rose, said.

Kelly Rose said it doesn't look like her son's love for Presley will fade anytime soon.

The first-grader from Las Vegas showed off just how much he loves the king of rock 'n' roll Sunday at the sixth annual Elvis Fest at the Orange County Marketplace.

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He and three other performers, including Ryan's father, Dan Rose, covered Presley's most popular hits — from the early days of the '50s to the later years of "Viva Las Vegas" — between a karaoke contest, a cake walk and other Presley-inspired activities.

The event, hosted by the Jailhouse Rockers, an Orange County-based fan club, featured tribute performances, Joe Uncool the Elvis comedian, a karaoke contest, and even Elvis on stilts.

The crowds gathered in honor of the 29th anniversary of Presley's death on Aug. 16, 1977.

For Dean Hayek of Lakewood, another tribute performer, it was not Presley's passing, but his legacy that performers and audiences were there to sing about.

"It's the anniversary of his death," he said, "but we're really here to celebrate his life."

Hayek's vision of performing Presley hits began as a child, as well.

"Since I was 10, I had a dream I was doing 'Jailhouse Rock' on a stage with a bunch of people screaming," Hayek said. "When I woke, I didn't want that feeling to go away."

According to the marketplace website, the King may be gone but his memory is alive and well. More than 100 people sporting neon pink stickers stating "I saw Elvis at the Orange County Marketplace" seemed to agree.

When people hear the singing they "stop shopping and merge around the stage to hear Elvis," fan club President Tina Altman said.

The crowds stopped, even to hear children — who weren't even thought of when Elvis was first popular — sing "Don't Be Cruel" and "All Shook Up."

Arlene and Jim Burroughs of Huntington Beach recognized Ryan from a show they saw two years ago in Las Vegas. They were still impressed with the youngster's moves and charisma.

"I think this is great for the kids here," Arlene Burroughs said. "It gives them an opportunity to get into Elvis."

Altman was equally impressed by Ryan, who won first place last year at his elementary school talent show. She says participants like the Roses speak volumes about the timeless nature of Presley's music and style.

"He's still so popular because of who he was and how he touched every age group and ethic," Altman said. "There will never be another Elvis Presley."

Proceeds from sales at the tribute concert and karaoke contest will be donated to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis, Tenn.

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