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Elvis Fest set for this weekend

LAKE GEORGE - The sixth edition of the Lake George Elvis Festival is under way this weekend, and organizers say this year's event offers new features and changes to make this year's the most memorable to date.

First, there's the change in venue, and second, additional tribute artists will be portraying several other rock stars besides Elvis to complement the event.

The centerpiece Elvis tribute artist competition will be moving to the Painted Pony Ranch in Lake Luzerne, event official Jason Sherry said.

"We're excited with the move to Painted Pony, because it has much larger capacity and the event's now going to have a real family-friendly festival atmosphere for everyone," he said.

The event's popular three-day tribute artist competition will be held at the ranch, and more than 65 entertainers from around the world competing in three divisions for $8,000 in cash prizes as they portray Elvis. The winner of the Lake George Elvis Festival will earn a spot in The 2009 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest finals, presented from August 8-16 by Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis.

The new Painted Pony site features an expansive covered pavilion that seats 2,300 people, and since the pavilion's bleacher seats are elevated, ticket holders will have a much better view of performers than in the past, Sherry said.

The event's Italian dinner buffet on Friday night and barbecue buffet on Saturday nigh) will provide Elvis fans with an opportunity to get to know the tribute artists, Sherry said.

Tickets for the dinners are available separately and in packages.

Located six miles from the festival's events in Lake George Village, the Painted Pony festival grounds will also play host to the weekend's two big Vegas-style shows: "The Great Pretenders: Elvis and Friends" on Friday evening and "On Stage: 1969 Opening Night at the International" on Saturday night.

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