Elvis Down Under

Australian enthusiasts of Elvis Presley put on their blue suede shoes for the 25th annual Parkes Elvis Festival. [20 photos total]

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1
Elvis Presley tribute performer Pete Storm from London dances on stage during the 25th annual Parkes Elvis Festival in the rural Australian town of Parkes, west of Sydney. Elvis may have left the building almost 40 years ago, but he and several clones have just arrived on a train chugging into Parkes railway station from Sydney, marking the start of the 25th Parkes Elvis Festival in the southeastern Australian town. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
2
Elvis Presley tribute artist Jake Rowley from Nederland, Texas is reflected in the 1950's period-style sunglasses of a fan. For five days in early January, "the King of Rock and Roll" lives on in this celebration of all things Elvis, including a tribute contest, a Miss Priscilla lookalike competition, a parade and gala dinner, and even a renewal of vows ceremony presided over by Elvis himself. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
3
Amateur rugby players from the 'Blue Suede Shoes' team, dressed in Elvis Presley suits, perform a haka prior to their rugby union game against the Reddy Teddies. This year, the iconic festival is themed after Elvis' classic 1964 film "Viva Las Vegas", with fans donning not only rhinestone-studded jumpsuits and their best wigs, but also sequins and feathers, as buskers entertain the crowds. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
4
Amateur rugby players wear Elvis suits as they play a game between the Blue Suede Shoes and the Reddy Teddies. Parkes' population balloons to almost double its size during the festivities, with organizers expecting between 25,000 and 30,000 people to attend in 2017, but the concept was not always welcomed by locals. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
5
An amateur rugby player dressed as Elvis Presley drinks from the Memphis Mug trophy after the match between the Blue Suede Shoes and the Reddy Teddies. "I think there was a bit of a cringe factor really with most people, including myself", said Parkes local and retiree Bob Bokeyar. "But I think we have come to love Elvis and love the festival over the years." (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
6
Elvis Presley tribute artist Stephen Fletcher puts on eye make-up in the mirror before competing in a singing contest. First held in 1993, the festival was the brainchild of husband and wife Bob and Anne Steel, who then owned the Gracelands restaurant in this quiet town in New South Wales. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
7
Elvis Presley tribute artist Stephen Fletcher holds his guitar backstage before competing in a singing contest. January was thought to be the best time for the festival as it coincided with Presley's birthday on January 8. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
8
Elvis Presley tribute artist Brendon Chase from New Zealand practices his lunges in the dressing room before competing in a singing contest. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
9
Elvis Presley fans dance in the audience during a performance while Elvis tribute singer Pete Storm from London performs on stage. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
10
Elvis Presley tribute performer Pete Storm from London performs on stage. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
11
Elvis Presley tribute performer Pete Storm from London gives a scarf to a member of the audience during his show. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
12
Elvis Presley tribute performer Pete Storm from London sings on stage. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
13
Elvis Presley tribute artist Stuart Vieyra receives a kiss from a member of the audience after making the final eight contestants in a singing competition. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
14
A couple in party wear walk to a pub. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
15
Elvis Presley tribute artist Pete Storm from London, dressed as 1970's Elvis. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
16
Elvis impersonators with plastic hair and oversized sunglasses arrive. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
17
Al 'Alvis' Gersbach, the official ambassador of the 25th annual Parkes Elvis Festival, walks through town with his Elvis belt buckle. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
18
Elvis Presley tribute artists Pete Storm (L) from England and Jake Rowley (R) from the United States arrive alongside Elvis fan Graham Lawrence (C) from Australia's Gold Coast at the Parkes Observatory radio telescope. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
19
Amateur rugby players from the Blue Suede Shoes and Reddy Teddies teams arrive at a local field in Elvis Presley suits before their annual match. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #
20
A life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley is pictured over the counter in a pie shop in Parkes. (REUTERS/Jason Reed) #

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