By Alyssa Long
The Candlelight Vigil is completely different from all other Elvis Week events. While other things during the week are high energy, loud and entertaining (all in very good way), the Candlelight Vigil is a time during the festival when everyone can gather together and pay their respects to Elvis Presley.
This year, an estimated 30,000 people arrived at the Graceland gates to stand together in remembering Elvis.
The evening started with Lisa Marie, Elvis’ daughter, lighting candles for fans. This gesture meant so much to everyone in attendance. It doesn’t happen every year, but the impact was incredibly touching.
After a few words are spoken and a few songs are played, the procession to the Meditation Garden begins with the Elvis Presley Fan Clubs. These fan club members come from all over the world and are made up of fans of all different ages. Throughout the night, they’ll line part of the driveway with candles in hand to welcome all other fans in attendance.
The procession continues up the driveway and it’s a beautiful thing to see. From a distance, it’s incredibly picturesque with the whole Graceland area all lit up and hundreds of candles dotting the drive.
To actually walk up the driveway and then through the Meditation Garden surrounded by other fans all in quiet remembrance is unlike anything else. The love and passion for Elvis Presley and all he did is contagious and can truly be felt at the Candlelight Vigil.
Back on Elvis Presley Boulevard, a normally very busy road, cars are not permitted and fans make shrines to commemorate Elvis. They use candles and pictures, they build structures and draw art on the pavement. They all gather together, share stories, share memories and bond over their love for Elvis Presley and his music.
Elvis is more than the jumpsuits, more than the pink Cadillacs, more than the sideburns. He is special to so many people and fans will continue remembering Elvis each year at this special event–his memory and legacy will live on.