By Jim Tortolano
It was a matter of Elvis meets endive; Presley matched up with parsley. The 18th annual Elvis Festival came to Garden Grove’s historic Main Street along with the Local Harvest Farmer’s Market on Sunday and offered the crowds a heapin’ helpin’ of fresh veggies and nostalgic music.
The event, held in conjunction with the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association, ran from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Main between Acacia Parkway and Garden Grove Boulevard. Forty years after the death of “The King” in August 1977, the first rock and roll superstar lived on in the form of a wide variety of Elvis tribute performers, a karaoke fest, an Elvis-themed art contest, a “King of the Cadillacs” car show for vintage Caddies, and more.
There were strolling Elvises that performed music, did comedy and magic, even a pair of tall “Stilt Elvis and Priscilla” entertainers towering over the crowd that thronged the street.
In addition to the festival, the farmer’s market – which usually closes up at 2 p.m. on Sundays – stayed open until 6 p.m. Several restaurants which normally are closed on Sundays or keep abbreviated hours stayed open later and offered special Elvis-themed dishes.
Doug’s Downtown Grill had Memphis Mafia Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Kaye’s Kitchen offered grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches — said to be a favorite of the crooner from Tupelo – and Louie’s On Main had Chicken “Love Me” Tenders. Not to be outdone, The Wharf had its Clamhouse Rock dish.
The event was a success, according to J.J. Jauregui, long known as the “Elvis Man” of Garden Grove. For years he was owner and operator of the Azteca Mexican Restaurant and Crooner’s Lounge, both decorated in Elvis décor and memorabilia.
“This is great,” he said, as he worked a booth selling Elvis recordings, autographed pictures and other mementos. “This is twice as big as last year. The mayor [Steve Jones] and city manager [Scott Stiles] really got behind us and it helped a lot.”
Categories: Garden Grove