Elvis fans hold Graceland vigil
Published 16/08/2010 | 04:08
Elvis Presley fans from around the world have flocked to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, for the annual procession past his grave.
The procession is the highlight of a week of fan club meetings, film showings and Elvis impersonator contests. It attracts several thousand fans, who usually leave flowers, teddy bears and other items at the grave site.
Dozens of multi-coloured but empty chairs lined the walls of Graceland on Sunday, their early-arriving owners seeking refuge from high temperatures at water stations.
Before the procession, fans from as far as Japan and England browsed Graceland's sprawling souvenir shopping centre and gathered under a large tent across the street from the mansion to listen to performers belt out Elvis tunes.
Elvis ballads like If I Can Dream and Fools Rush In played as participants solemnly filed in through the gates. Flowers and photos lined the entrance to the grave site, which also is the resting place of Elvis's father Vernon, his mother Gladys and grandmother Minnie Mae. Some wiped away tears as they walked past the graves.
As night fell, fans took residence on Elvis Presley Boulevard, setting up folding chairs in the street after police closed the thoroughfare to traffic. Children wrote messages in purple, yellow and green chalk reading 'We Miss Elvis' and 'Elvis Lives 2010'.
The King of Rock 'n' Roll died at his Graceland mansion on August 16, 1977.
Elvis bought the 13-acre property in 1957 for a song - just over 100,000 dollars.