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(Oct. 12, 2018) Elvis has entered the building. In fact, 20 of the world’s best Elvis impersonators will gather at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street, next weekend.

The event returns to Ocean City next Thursday with performers hoping to be named the best Elvis. Tickets were still available as of Tuesday afternoon.

A cash prize of $5,000 will be split between the top-five finishers, and the first-place winner will earn an opportunity to represent Ocean City while competing for the title against winners of other preliminary contests at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, held during the 2019 Elvis Week in Memphis in August.

“This will be our fourth year in Ocean City,” Executive Producer Jason Sherry said. “We moved there after five years in Pennsylvania because the resort closed. We were looking for a replacement event and got a chance to meet with the owners of Clarion and they welcomed us in.”

Headlining this year’s festival will be Ultimate Elvis Tribute artists Ben Portsmouth, Dwight Icenhower and David Lee, and 2017 champion Brycen Katolinsky.

Award-winning Tribute Artist, Taylor Rodriguez, with Irv Cass and the Change of Habit tribute band will also take the stage.

At 9 p.m. next Thursday night, a welcome karaoke party will take place in the Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant inside the Clarion, hosted by Dan Barrella.

Next Friday and Saturday, audience members will see the first and second rounds of the contest. Each contestant will perform four songs both days. Half of the group will perform with tracks and the other half with the Change of Habit tribute band. The top 10 will advance to Sunday’s finals.

The competition begins at noon, Friday, Oct. 20, and 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Friday’s 8 p.m. show will be Aloha from Ocean City, in tribute to Elvis’ album Aloha from Hawaii, which was recorded in the 1970’s. Saturday’s 7 p.m. show will be a tribute to Live in the Jungle Room, also recorded in the 1970’s.

Closing out Friday night’s festivities will be an auction in Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant with Barrella hosting. Proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Next Saturday night, the annual “Spooktacular” Halloween Costume Ball will take place at 10 p.m.

“The performers dress up as Elvis all weekend, well Saturday night is when the fans get a chance to dress up,” Sherry said. “So, we all put on our costumes and have a big costume party in honor of Halloween.”

Next Sunday morning at 10 a.m. there will be an Elvis Gospel music event at the Clarion before 10 Elvis tribute artists take the stage at 1 p.m. for their final round of competition.

“If you’re an Elvis fan, and you’ve never been to a tribute event like this before, the difference of what we do is all of our performers in the headline shows are professional entertainers,” Sherry said. “We do Las Vegas-style tribute shows. There’s full concert lighting and full band on stage the whole weekend. It’s more of a genuine tribute heartfelt by the guys and the producers and the fans and helps Elvis fans relive a moment in their history that they’re not able to access any longer.”

A ‘That’s So Seventies’ wrap party will send off Elvis tribute artists at 7 p.m.

In addition to these activities, a memorial tribute to Ocean City’s own “Boardwalk Elvis,” who passed away earlier this summer, will also take place during the event. Details regarding the memorial were still being discussed as of earlier this week. 

Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc., the company that controls the Presley estate and operates Graceland, is the proprietor of the event. In 2007, it started searching for the best representation of Elvis Presley and now the event is held annually.

In addition to Ocean City, Elvis festivals will be held in Brunswick, Georgia; Lake George, New York; Las Vegas and Memphis this year.

Elvis merchandise will be available, from official festival T-shirts to key chains. In addition, CDs, DVDs and other collectibles will be available as well.

A limited number of passes are available for the event, which start at $50 for individual shows and $139 for weekend passes. Hotel and ticket packages are also available.

For more information on the event or to see a full schedule of events, visit www.oceancityelvisfestival.com or call 1-888-406-5885.

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