King for a day

LAKE GEORGE The Elvis tribute artist contest to be held in June during this year's edition of the annual Lake George Elvis Festival has been designated an official preliminary competition for "The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest," which is being produced by Elvis Presley Enterprises. Inc. (EPE). The winner of the Lake George contest will win $1,000 and get a spot in the qualifying rounds of "The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest," the first tribute artist contest ever presented by EPE and one of many events that are part of the 30th Anniversary edition of Elvis Week in Memphis, Tenn. in August. "The Lake George Elvis Festival is proud to partner with EPE in searching for `The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist' by being a preliminary contest location," said Festival Tribute Artist Advisor Terry Collins. "We expect to have a huge response from tribute artists based in the U.S. and around the world." In Memphis, all the preliminary contest winners first will compete in qualifying rounds on Aug. 12 at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. Winners from those rounds will return to The Cannon Center on Aug. 17 to compete for the title of "2007 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist." During the Lake George event on June 1 - 3, 65 Elvis tribute artists (ETAs) will compete in three divisions: professionals (1950s-1960s and 1970s categories), non-professionals (1950s-1960s and 1970s categories), and youth for $8,000 in cash prizes. The artists will be judged by a panel consisting of musicians, music professors, Elvis fan club presidents, radio and television personalities, writers, teachers of the arts and music, and people of many other professions. "ETAs will be judged on vocals, appearance, stage performance, and the overall tribute to Elvis," explained Collins. "The contestants must perform two songs and cannot duplicate songs sung by other contestants." The weekend will get underway Friday, June 1 with an ETA Showcase at the Lake George Forum from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., during which each of this year's tribute artists will perform two songs with the ExSpence Account Showband, a 10-piece Elvis tribute band that tours and performs behind Elvis tribute artists all over the world. There will also be a welcome ceremony and a fireworks display over Lake George. The theme of Saturday's big performance will be "Elvis at Madison Square Garden," a trip back in time to June 1972 when the King Rock 'n' Roll performed four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. ETA Doug Church will recreate the historic anniversary event in its entirety. Ohio-based ETA Dwight Icenhower will open the show. Other weekend highlights include an evening candle lighting ceremony, a Sunday morning Elvis gospel service, a pancake breakfast, dancing to the tunes of Elvis, Elvis steamboat cruises, and vendors with Elvis collectibles, novelties and memorabilia. "The world of Elvis tribute artists is a phenomenon like no other," said Collins, adding that there are estimated to be 30,000 or more ETA's worldwide. "Join us at the Lake George Elvis Festival this June, as we celebrate the life and music of Elvis in such a beautiful setting and qualify one ETA to enter 'The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.'" Visitors can purchase tickets to individual events or a Blue Suede Pass giving them access to all events and venues for one price, except the "Elvis at Madison Square Garden" concert. Ticket prices range from $15 to $80 and can be packaged with a Blue Suede Pass for as little as $55 each. Tickets are presently on sale. For ETA registration forms, tickets and further information, call 668-2200 or go to www.lakegeorgeElvisfest.com. For more information about Elvis Week in Memphis, visit www.elvisweek.com.

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