(Oct 11, 2019) Twenty-six of the world’s top Elvis impersonators will gather at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street, starting next Thursday.
The three-day event will return to Ocean City with performers competing 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. The first-place winner will also earn an opportunity to represent Ocean City and battle for the title against winners of other preliminary contests at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, held during the 2020 Elvis Week in Memphis in August.
“It’s a great festival. It’s one of eight festivals that we do each year and we can always count on Ocean City being a consistent group of very enthusiastic fans,” Executive Producer Jason Sherry said. “It’s not our biggest event, it’s not our smallest event, it’s just the right size and as long as people keep coming, we’ll keep doing it.”
Ocean City has been hosting one of the eight Elvis Festivals for the past five years.
Headlining this year’s festival will be Ultimate Elvis Tribute artists Dwight Icenhower, Taylor Rodriguez, Mark Anthony, Ted Torres, Robert Washington and Irv Cass, and 2019 champion, Diogo Light, of Brazil.
Cass and the Change of Habit tribute band will also take the stage.
At 9 p.m. next Thursday, a welcome karaoke party will take place in the Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant inside the Clarion, hosted by Emcee Dan Barrella. The event will only be open to ticket holders.
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 will begin at noon, Friday, Oct. 20, and 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Friday’s 8 p.m. show will be Jukebox Live, featuring Light, in tribute to not just Elvis, but also to Johnny Cash, Elton John, Tom Jones, Ricky Nelson and other classic rock acts.
“It’s a wonderful trip down nostalgia lane and it’s a way to remember life when it was a little bit simpler and you were able to enjoy rock and roll a little more,” Sherry said.
Closing out Friday night’s festivities will be an auction in Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant hosted by Barrella. 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.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Sherry said. “The performers dress up as Elvis all weekend, so Saturday night is when the fans get a chance to dress up. So, we all put on our costumes and have a big costume party in honor of Halloween.”
Next Saturday’s 7 p.m. show, Flipsides, will celebrate the depth of Elvis’ music, featuring the other side of his vinyl albums.
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. “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 wrap party will send off the Elvis tribute artists at 7 p.m. next Sunday.
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 also 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, visit www.oceancityelvisfestival.com or call 1-888-406-5885.