Following is a press release from the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau:
2006 marks the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ homecoming to Tupelo, Miss. to perform at the Tupelo Fairgrounds for the first time as a star, and today, the Tupelo CVB announced an event to commemorate that event.
The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is proud to partner with the Elvis Presley Festival to celebrate this momentous occasion with a re-creation of the homecoming parade and Elvis’ historic performance in Tupelo 50 years ago. This event will be held in conjunction with the 2006 Elvis Presley Festival, June 2-4, with events held commemorating the anniversary on June 3.
The reenactment concert and parade, licensed through Elvis Presley Enterprises, will be a multi –media presentation with live performers, video footage, audio clips and oral histories from those who experienced the day first-hand. The weekend will also hold a debut of the documentary “The Homecoming: Tupelo Welcomes Elvis Home” by Roy Turner and Jim Palmer.
“We are excited to offer this once in a lifetime event to the city of Tupelo and to Elvis fans across the world,” said Linda Butler-Johnson, Executive Director of the Tupelo CVB. “The committee planning this event has done a wonderful job coming up with creative ways to re-create the Homecoming. With their efforts, the support from Elvis Presley Enterprises and the hard work of the CVB staff and volunteers across our state, this event will be a showcase for Tupelo and the state of Mississippi.”
Butler-Johnson added that fans from across the nation and worldwide have already expressed interest in the event, and some have already made plans to attend. The event will be promoted by the Tupelo CVB, the state of Mississippi’s Division of Tourism and Elvis Presley Enterprises.
“The international visitor is a viable market segment we target aggressively,” said Craig Ray, Executive Director for the Mississippi Division of Tourism. “We are pleased this year to have the opportunity to serve as host for a group of journalists from the United Kingdom who will cover the event. The media exposure is priceless and compliments our international sales efforts.”
Officials have already begun a “Were You There?” campaign. Organizers are asking anyone who was at the 1956 Homecoming event and is willing to share their story to submit it at www.tupelo.net or call 800-533-0611.
“For those lucky enough to have been at the original performance, this will be a commemoration and a trip down memory lane,” said Debbie Brangenberg, Director of the Tupelo Downtown/Main Street Association who produces the Elvis Presley Festival.
“For those of us who didn’t have the opportunity to attend the original event, this is our unique opportunity to experience part of the magic and excitement that enveloped Tupelo when Elvis first returned to his hometown to perform. We are excited that the CVB decided to incorporate the event into the Elvis Presley Festival weekend.”
1956 was a successful year for Elvis with releases of hit songs such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Hound Dog.” Elvis also made his debut performance on the Ed Sullivan Show Sept. 9, 1956 – just days before he returned to Tupelo to perform. 1956 was also the year Elvis launched his movie career as “Love Me Tender” premiered in New York on Nov. 16.
For more details on the Homecoming reenactment and parade or to learn more about making plans to visit Tupelo, visit www.tupelo.net or call 800-533-0611.
Also visit the Elvis Presley Festival site