Elvis Festival sees large crowds coming out on Friday in Penticton

Big turnout for Elvis Festival

Casey Richardson

UPDATE: 7:40 p.m.

Crowds of Elvis fans swarmed into Okanagan Lake Park on Friday for the first day of the Penticton Elvis Festival, featuring 40 tribute artists this year to get everyone 'all shook up.'

Hours of volunteer hours and planning went into getting everything together for this year's big event after the hiatus.

"It's amazing. I don't think we've ever had this big of a crowd on a Friday afternoon. And I think everybody knew it was going to be a super show with the headliners we had and then all the performers tonight," Penticton Elvis Festival President Dave Martin said. "It's just been great. I think it'll even be way busier tomorrow."

"The Elvis fans are always gonna be Elvis fans. I've seen people here that I used to see when I came up myself from Surrey and came to the festival. So I've seen the same people coming out year after year," Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Maguire added.

Amateur and professional elite tribute artists are going head to head this weekend with competition performances

Matt Cage has been performing as an Elvis Tribute Artist for 12 years, but this is his first getting to make it out to Penticton's premier festival.

"The venue is beautiful. The people have been wonderful. So just actually getting out meeting people, like-minded Elvis fans and the guys here, it's just a great time to get together and just share ideas and have fun," he said.

Cage got into performing as Elvis by singing his songs at Karaoke.

"People would say 'Hey, you kind of sound like him, you should do this.' And back home, I'm from Ontario, the Collingwood Elvis Festival was a perfect gateway to get into this. I went and watched it. I fell in love instantly with the whole genre," Cage said.

"I think for me, I don't walk around and look like Elvis 24/7 or anything. So when I actually get the get-up on, I get the hair and makeup done, all of a sudden I look in the mirror and I say 'There he is, I'm ready to go.'"

Seven amateurs and seven professionals will be going to the finals on Sunday afternoon at the South Okanagan Event Center.

"If you're not here, you're missing something that's really special. To Penticton, to the whole community here in the Okanagan," Martin said.

Penticton Elvis Festival runs until Sunday night.

For more information and for the full festival schedule, click here.

ORIGINAL: 12:40 p.m.

The king is back in town!

After a two-year hiatus, the Penticton Elvis Festival is officially getting all shook up again, kicking off with opening ceremonies Friday at 1 p.m. in Okanagan Lake Park.

The competition round, featuring Elvis tribute artists from around the country and beyond, gets going at 5 p.m.

Saturday will see more competitors, and a headliner show of top artists Dean Z, Gordon Hendricks and Corny Rempel, at 8 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Then Sunday boasts the beloved Gospel Show and pancake breakfast, which is a fundraiser for Critteraid Animal Sanctuary, followed by the competition finals and the crowning of champions.

Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass or $30 for a two-day pass, with an extra $5 for the pancake breakfast. Tickets to the competition finals are $32-$56.

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