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Elvis Presley is an absolute legend. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll made his debut in the mid-50s and took the country by storm. His untimely death was a tragedy but his legacy as an American music superstar lives on to this day. Elvis’ legacy is celebrated every spring in Lake George Village by Elvis Tribute Artists from around the country. At the Ultimate Elvis Festival these talented songbirds combine their musical prowess with the essence of Elvis’ notorious style and famed dance moves to wow Elvis-lovers on the shores of Lake George. They sing and serenade in small restaurants and on large stages to those who can’t help but keep the spirit of Elvis alive. This is the Ultimate Elvis Festival.
What the Ultimate Elvis Festival is All About
In 2004, a group of Elvis loving Lake George Area locals decided to create an event to celebrate the life and music of Elvis Presley. The festival was a blockbuster hit, successfully honoring Elvis and promoting Elvis Tribute Artists. The event has grown year after year, attracting spectators and ETAs from all over the world. These ETAs have one mission – to turn their gift of music and dance moves into a shot at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. There are over 50 competitors during the life of the Ultimate Elvis Festival. Many Lake George Grand Champions have gone on to perform well in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.
While the Ultimate Elvis Festival is always a hit, this year is special. Not only is it the 10th year of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, but it is also the 40th year since the death of Elvis Presley himself. With that in mind, the Ultimate Elvis Festival will be rockin’ and rollin’ in 2017. All ten of the Ultimate Elvis Champions will appear in Lake George this year. Other major guest appearances include the Lake George Grand Champion from 2016, Tim Hendry, and Robert Washington, the 2016 representative to the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.
Those Unforgettable Tunes
The best of the best Elvis Tribute Artists are crooning “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog” in small bars and large venues all week long. The Lake George Elvis Festival kicks off on Wednesday night at the Lake George Village amphitheater in Shepard Park. The amphitheater in Shepard Park is a beautiful sloping venue on the shores of Lake George. The opening ceremony will dive into the festival’s schedule, highlight all of the new events, and get the festival going with a few live headlining performances. There will be dinner and performances following the opening ceremony at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery. This Adirondack themed brewpub is a perfect introduction to the Lake George Area and uses Lake George water in their beer.
The contest portion of the Ultimate Elvis Festival is the can’t miss event of the week. Dubbed the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, this three round event sends a winner from several categories to the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis during Elvis Week. This contest is no joke. Close to fifty ETAs grab the mike and perform for $10,000 and the chance of a lifetime in Memphis. The ETAs compete in one of five divisions: Professional – Early Years, Professional 70s, Non-Professional Early Years, Non-Professional 70s, and Youth. ETAs have to perform to both recorded tracks and with the Change of Habit cover band, requiring both skill and flexibility. Performers are eliminated daily, and the final round is Sunday where the Grand Champion will be crowned.
These ETAs are phenomenal performers. The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest is great entertainment, but you’ve got to check out the real descendants of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. There is a 10 Years of Ultimate Elvises performance on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, starring past winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. These concerts are held at the Lake George Forum at 7 p.m. Tickets are included with a ticket pass or cost $60 per night.
More Than Just Elvis
While the Ultimate Elvis Festival is mostly about Elvis Presley, you shouldn’t leave the Lake George Area without exploring Lake George. A boat cruise on Lake George is one of the most encompassing ways to get on the water. Lake George Shoreline is offering a cruise on Friday afternoon on their 115-foot Adirondac. Guests can take in the vast mansions sitting on the shores of Lake George and the mountains that surround them while being serenaded by Dwight Icenhower and Ted Torres. The Lake George Steamboat Company is offering three similar cruises on Saturday afternoon on their Minne-Ha-Ha paddlewheel ship. These cruises each feature a special guest as well.
Each night of the Ultimate Elvis Festival ends with an after party at local restaurants around Lake George Village. The parties are held at King Neptune’s Pub on Thursday and Saturday and at the Boardwalk Restaurant on Friday. These are great places to grab a bite to eat and a few drinks after a long day of grooving to those Elvis tunes that everybody loves.
The Ultimate Elvis Festival takes place in Lake George Village from May 31st through June 4th.