Every year for 1 weekend in July, thousands of Elvis Presley fans & hundreds of tribute artists come together in The Town of Collingwood, Ontario, for the largest Elvis Festival outside of Graceland.
It was a non-stop, all-day, all-night party during our visit last summer. We had such a blast that we captured all the fun in a video for our YouTube Channel and Facebook Page:
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The Festival has been around for more than 20 years and its rising popularity over the years meant that venues within Collingwood had to change in order to accommodate the growing number of attendees from one year to the next. The Festival has clearly made a name for itself as we met people who traveled for hours to compete or attend. Below is a picture of Petula with Cleo, who traveled all the way from Bahamas just to experience the festival for the first time.
Today, the festival is a giant outdoor street party that features Elvis tribute artists performing and competing and also has Elvis-themed accessories and memorabilia for sale. A few competitive events and performances are also held indoors at the Theatre Collingwood.
One thing that you’ll notice from our vlog is that this event has an open backstage area. Fans are able to mingle and meet the tribute artists before or after they hit the stage. The artists love meeting their fans, pose for pictures and sign autographs. It’s also a chance for the artists to hang out and trade stories with each other. Spending some time backstage, we’ve started to understand what it takes to be a full time Elvis Tribute Artist and perform shows all over North America (and the rest of the world!). We were fortunate to meet some great guys like ‘Dean Z‘, Tim ‘E’ Hendry and Pete Paquette.
It’s great to see local businesses and vendors join in the fun too by decorating their storefronts. They even have a food truck row, with a wide variety of fun foods to try. While we were there, Tony was looking for the ‘King’s’ favourite sandwich – peanut butter & banana. Watch our video to see how the hunt for this tasty treat turned out.
The Collingwood Elvis Festival is held in the Downtown Area of the Town of Collingwood. The Town is just over an hour north of Toronto and 15.5 hours north of Graceland!
The Festival is free to attend and so are the outdoor performances however indoor performances at the Theatre are ticketed events. For a schedule of performances and to buy tickets online visit the Festival’s website.
Fun Festival Facts
- It’s the largest Elvis Festival in the world.
- It made the Top 100 list from Festival & Events Ontario.
- There’s a fan meet & greet section behind the main stage.
- The highest scoring competitor in the professional division moves to perform at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis, Tennessee.
If you’re a fan of The King then mark your calendars because you’ll definitely want to attend. From amateur to professional and from young to old we saw all kinds of artists and fans coming together to celebrate the one and only Elvis Presley.
Have any photos or videos of your visit that you would like to share with us? Send them over to @LetsDiscoverON.
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