Thousands ready to rock their way to Parkes

MORE than 15,000 Elvis fans will pull on their blue suede shoes and swivel their hips at the 2014 TrainLink Parkes Elvis Festival.

They will double the population and transform Parkes into the 'Elvis Capital of Australia'.

2014 will mark the 22nd anniversary of the NSW TrainLink Parkes Elvis Festival from January 8-12, with record crowds again expected.

Elvis fans and festival lovers from all over Australia will converge on Parkes for five days and more than 150 individual events including the highly anticipated Elvis Street Parade, feature concerts with Elvis Tribute Artist Mark Andrew, Elvis Gospel Service, Tribute to Elvis Competition and much more.

The Elvis Express is set to depart from Central Station in Sydney on Thursday morning, January 9, with over 300 Elvis fans on board. It will arrive in Parkes that afternoon for four fun filled days and non-stop entertainment.

The town centre is set to become Elvis Boulevard with local businesses and staff embracing the event with Elvis themed shop windows and staff uniforms, buskers lining the street and free entertainment in Cooke Park.

"The fun of the festival is infectious," Parkes Shire Council's Tourism and Marketing Manager, Katrina Dwyer said.

"There is the most wonderful vibe in Parkes during the festival, everyone just wants to enjoy themselves," she said.

"The festival is a community-driven event that involves a wide cross-section of the community from a dedicated volunteer committee to local businesses and over 100 individual volunteers who freely give up their time to successfully stage the festival each year.

"This all adds to the amazing atmosphere of the festival."

Katrina said that alongside the iconic CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, the Parkes Elvis Festival had cemented Parkes' status as a major tourism centre.

"It provides a significant boost to not only the Parkes economy but the whole region in what usually would be a quiet tourism period," she said.

"Considering visitor length of stay, bed nights, ticket sales, food and transport costs, the festival is estimated to inject over $9 million into the economy.

"Increased accommodation and restaurant options are available for visitors this year with the the addition of the brand new motel - the Aastro Dish Motor Inn and Galaxy Restaurant.

"Hotel Gracelands will also celebrate its first year of operation and opening of brand new restaurant and function centre IKON."

For festival-goers who have yet to secure accommodation, there is still places available through the Home Hosting Program, Tent City or if you have your own caravan or motorhome, parking sites are available at Pioneer Oval.

For further information contact the Parkes Visitor Information Centre on 6862 6000.

To start planning your festival experience, pick up a copy of the official souvenir program from the Parkes Visitor Information Centre or visit the official event website www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au

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