Floats are under construction, bands are rehearsing their takes on everything from "Love Me Tender" to "Jailhouse Rock" and everybody from the "Today" show's Katie Couric to Lisa Marie Presley are planning what to wear in Memphis in mid-August. The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates up to 75,000 visitors will turn the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death into one of the few events in the country that will defy the ailing economy and Sept. 11's lingering travel angst.
It will be the first time Graceland and the city have staged a kickoff event — Beale Street parade and street party on Saturday — for an Elvis anniversary. Since Elvis's death in 1977, the anniversary week and its candlelight vigil finale have needed no help becoming one of the most reliable tourism magnets in the country. Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden said the idea grew as he watched opening ceremonies for the winter Olympics. "It occurred to me, 'We need a party to kick the whole thing off.'"