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Honoring a Legend

Variety of events centered
on life of a rock and roll icon

Elvis’ birthday to be celebrated
in big way in La Grange

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (January 2011) – Brian King had no intention of becoming an Elvis impersonator. In fact, it all really started by accident.

Brian King

Photo provided

Brian King is one of four
Elvis Presley impersonators
with ties to Oldham County.

“I was not a fanatical Elvis fan,” said King, 43. “A friend wanted to collect DJ equipment and have his own DJ service. He asked me to help him and after he booked the first show, he asked me if I would sing a few Elvis songs.”
Two weeks later, the same friend called King and told him he needed to buy an Elvis outfit. Puzzled at first, King learned that he had been booked for a 11/2 hour show. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”
King said he has always liked Elvis, “But I never pictured myself as an impersonator. Now I love it. I have a lot of respect for his music; I enjoy that genre.”
After 13 years of paying tribute to The King, King has slowed down just a bit. His busiest time of the year is around Elvis’ birthday and death date, and in the summer months. He tries to enter Elvis contests whenever possible and has won contests in the past at Caesar’s Casino.
“I feel like a tribute artist, not an impersonator,” he said. When doing a show, “it’s more about having fun with it. A lot of things Elvis did in his rehearsal shows were better than the actual shows. I like showing the lighter side of Elvis.”
Originally from Valley Station, Ky., King now lives in the Okolona area of Jefferson County. His favorite Elvis clothing, an Aloha suit, is based on his favorite Elvis concert.
“A lot of what I do depends on the crowd – it’s their show. I like to interact a lot with the crowd.” He performed at a local Ladies Night Out event last year sponsored by Discover Downtown La Grange. That performance stayed in the mind of organizers, and he will be taking part in several events in January to honor Elvis Presley.
According to Discover Downtown La Grange Executive Director Linda Goin, “There’s more Memphis in La Grange than you’d know.” She’s referring to the many ties Oldham County has to Elvis Presley, who would have turned 76 on Jan. 8, 2011.
“There’s usually nothing happening in January,” said Goin. In December, there is “a lot of excitement and momentum going on downtown, but after Christmas, there’s not. We want to keep everything going and keep the momentum up.”
In honor of Elvis’ life, Discover Downtown La Grange has planned a variety of events sure to puff your poodle skirt and knock your bobby socks off. The weekend celebration will kick off from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, with a book signing by Alanna Nash at Karen’s Book Barn & Java Stop.
The idea of an Elvis event came about after “I met Alanna Nash and invited her to read from her works,” said Goin. Nash, a Louisville resident, is a journalist and biographer.
Nash has authored several acclaimed books about Elvis Presley and was one of the journalists to view Elvis’ remains after his death in August 1977. She was voted one of the “Heavy 100 of Country Music” by Esquire magazine and in 2004 earned the Country Music Awards Media Achievement Award and the Belmont Book Award.
An Elvis Trivia Contest will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 7 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8. It will begin at a retail shop on Friday and the Oldham County Public Library on Saturday. Participating adults and children may tour downtown La Grange and view never-before-seen photos of Elvis while answering trivia questions.
Prizes awarded for both adult and junior versions of the trivia tour include Elvis memorabilia, gift certificates and an Elvis Insider PLUS membership for one year. The cost of this contest is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 7-12. Children under 7 are free.
An Elvis Lives! Private Party will beheld from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday at The Soiree, located next to Kroger in La Grange. “This will be a fun event and one of the largest fundraisers this year for Discover Downtown La Grange,” said Goin.
This event will include a DJ, catering and an Elvis performance by Brian King. Tickets are $25 per person and seating is limited to 250. Contact Discover Downtown La Grange to make reservations.
As a testament to Elvis’ favorite dish, many local restaurants such as Irish Rover, Too, Acapulco and Serendipity will offer grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches throughout Friday and Saturday.
A special highlight of the weekend will be an Elvis Presley Day Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the Community Center. Intended to celebrate Elvis’ birthday, this event will feature new La Grange Mayor Bill Lammlein cutting a cake, door prizes and a chance to win two tickets for the Graceland Mansion Tour in Memphis, Tenn. Because door prizes are being given away, tickets for this event are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 7-12. Children 7 and under are free.
Nash will have a second reading and book signing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 8 at the Oldham County Public Library on Yager Avenue in La Grange. The library will also show Elvis movies throughout the day. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the QUADS car club will have their ‘50s and ‘60s cars on display in front of the courthouse on Main Street, weather permitting.
The Elvis events will wind down with a free Southern Gospel Celebration from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at DeHaven Baptist Church. Classic gospel songs will be performed by local individuals and groups. This event promises to be “a showcase for local gospel groups,” said Goin.

• For more information, visit: www.DiscoverLaGrange.org or contact Linda Goin at (502) 269-0126.

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