Time to love him tender

Cancel that trip to the 'Heartbreak Hotel' and head to the Orange County Market Place on Sunday to get your fill of all things King.

August 18, 2011|By Candice Baker
  • A crowd favorite, Joe Banuelos, rocks the crowd with "Jailhouse Rock" during the Creme de la King Karaoke contest at the OC Market Place at last year's event.
A crowd favorite, Joe Banuelos, rocks the crowd with "Jailhouse… (FILE PHOTO, Daily…)

Elvis may have left the building in August 1977, but as millions of devotees and tens of thousands of Elvis impersonators will tell you, his spirit endures through his music and the tight-knit fan community formed in his name.

Thousands of such fans will converge Sunday for the wildly popular Elvis Festival at the Orange County Market Place in Costa Mesa.

"It kind of reminds me of a small-town carnival," said Kirk Wall, the festival's host since its inception. "They have things like watermelon eating contests and a huge turnout. A lot of different Elvises perform and compete, but it never gets ugly; it's always really light."

"It's great fun, and so well-produced," festival performer Danny Jacobson said. "It's a complete, daylong celebration of the King with impersonators, dancers, vintage cars, Elvis fan clubs and more. I am very honored to have been invited to perform this year."

The 12th annual tribute to the King, held in conjunction with the Market Place's popular swap meet, includes seven impersonators — and many more karaoke singers vying to step into "Blue Suede Shoes"; more memorabilia than the "Heartbreak Hotel" could ever fit into its rooms; and more Elvis-inspired food truck items than any "Hound Dog" could ever wolf down, including the King's favorite grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.


PPW Toys and Elvis Presley Enterprises will hold an Elvis Trivia Bee and will be offering a collectible '68 Comeback Special Edition Mr. Potato Head Elvis for sale; Mr. Potato Head will be rakishly clad in a leather jacket and holding a mic. The company introduced a jumpsuit-clad Mr. Potato Head last year.

Keep an eye out for a 9-foot, 6-inch tall stilt-walking Elvis and Priscilla Presley; magician Abbit the Average Elvis; and a classic car display, including a cotton candy pink 1961 Cadillac Sedan DeVille with pink leopard interior and wide whitewall tires.

One of the world's top official fan clubs, the Jailhouse Rockers of California, will be on hand as well.


'Burning Love'

Wall brings a long history of Elvis fandom to his Sunday performances of movie song medleys; he'll be accompanied by the Halau Hula Lani Ola dance troupe during his "Blue Hawaii" and "Rock a Hula" numbers.

"I became an Elvis fan when I was a child," Wall said. "He was my favorite singer; still is."

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