Celebrating Elvis at the PNE

Barb Dobie (left, with Lisa Marie Presley) has been an Elvis fan since the beginning.  This year she visited Memphis on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, along with over 75,000 who showed up to pay their respects to Elvis. This was particularly noticeable during the Candlelight Vigil. Elvis is gone, but he will never be forgotten.

This was the sixth year we saluted Elvis at the PNE. Our show was moved from its usual August 31 date, when Elvis appeared at the fair in 1957, to Saturday August 25. The legend of Elvis lived on, and thousands showed up to enjoy the special tribute to the king of Rock and Roll.

This year’s tribute artist is one of the best: Donny Edwards. He captured the Las Vegas and 70s touring days of Elvis with a giant orchestra conducted by Brian Simpson. The 22 member orchestra and 8 backup singers recreated the excitement of an Elvis concert. Also appearing on stage before Donny performed was my friend Joe Esposito who flew in from Las Vegas for the occasion.  Joe was Elvis’ good friend and best man at his wedding. He particularly loved this year’s theme Aloha Elvis. Joe told of the many trips they would take as families to Hawaii. Elvis loved Hawaii and the people of Hawaii loved him. One lucky winner received a trip for two to Hawaii on WestJet.

All in all the weather was wonderful, Donny Edwards was exceptional, and the band was incredible. Elvis is without a doubt the most durable of icons. As much as the credit for this annual event goes to me, it should go to my wife Carole who has been producing it since day one. Congrats sweetheart, you pulled it off… under almost ridiculous circumstances!