A whole lot of Elvis going on

Thousands of fans are invading Parkes, with some donning wigs and bejewelled flares to take part in Australia’s biggest Elvis celebration.

Up to 18,000 people are expected to visit the town over the next five days for the town’s 23rd Elvis Festival, which doubles the town's population.

This year, the festival kicked off on what would have been The King’s 79th birthday, yesterday, and is themed Kissin’ Cousins after his 1964 film.

Events include street parades, look-alike contests, wedding vow renewals, vintage car shows and live music.

But arguably the biggest drawcard is festival guest Cynthia Pepper, who starred alongside The King in Kissin’ Cousins.

Festival spokeswoman Janette Barbera said the festival had grown from a themed restaurant’s celebration of Elvis’s birthday to an internationally-renowned event.

She said the festival’s success could be put down to one thing.

“It’s just fun,” she said.

“We have people from overseas every year. They just rock in from everywhere.”

In support of the event, NSW Trainlink will transfer 300 Elvis enthusiasts from Sydney to the festival aboard the “Elvis Express” this morning.

It will be the 22nd year that the Elvis Express has made the journey from Sydney’s Central Station to Parkes.

The festival started yesterday and runs to Monday, January 12.

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