ELVIS impersonators and fans have dusted off their blue suede shoes, bedazzled their star-spangled outfits and combed their Elvis inspired wigs in anticipation for the CountryLink Elvis Express Train.
Up to 400 Elvis and Priscilla look-a-likes departed Central train station on Thursday, January 8, destined for the annual Parkes Elvis Festival. The train also made stops at Parramatta, Penrith, Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange stations before arriving at Parkes later that day.
Cheryl Stewart, her daughter Belinda Leigh and her granddaughter Bridgette Leigh, age 8, caught the Elvis Express Train from Parramatta station.
Watch our video interview with the family below:
Ms Stewart has been an Elvis fan since she was seven-years-old.
‘‘He was such a honey,’’ she said.
‘‘I don’t know what it was that made me become a fan; all I know is that I have always been a big Elvis fan.’’
This will be the second time that Ms Stewart and her family have caught the train to the festival.
Ms Stewart said the train was a great way to start the Elvis celebrated event.
‘‘Everyone is dressed up, there are poofy dresses and Elvis’ everywhere,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s very kitschy and fun.’’
Western Sydney resident and president of the Elvis Presley Fan Club of Australasia, Jim Porter, was also on the train.
He has been an Elvis fan and an avid collector since he was two-years-old.
‘‘My uncle took me to see G.I. Blues and it just took off from there,’’ he said.
‘‘I now have one of the biggest multi-million dollar collections in Australia including Elvis tassel costumes, wallets to jukeboxes, gold belts and every Elvis single ever made.’’
Mr Porter said he has been attending Parkes Elvis Festival since it’s early years.
‘‘It’s about keeping the memory a live,’’ he said.
‘‘People come together on the train and are here to have a good time.
‘‘You come onboard feeling welcomed and you make a lot of new friends on the way.’’
The festival bound Elvis Express Train has been taking Elvis fans to there so called ‘‘Graceland’’ for up to 11 years.The five-day festival attracts Elvis impersonators and fans from all over Australia to the tiny central west town of Parkes in NSW.
This year, festival organisers have put together a massive line-up, with over 150 Elvis inspired activities and events.