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Tribute artists to perform at Elvis Birthday Bash in Largo

Elvis tribute artist Jeremy Ewbank of Tampa evokes the King at the 2009 Elvis Birthday Bash at the Largo Cultural Center.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2009)

Elvis tribute artist Jeremy Ewbank of Tampa evokes the King at the 2009 Elvis Birthday Bash at the Largo Cultural Center.

LARGO — Every year, hundreds of Elvis fans gather in Largo to celebrate the King's birthday.

On Jan. 2, they'll honor what would have been Elvis Presley's 76th birthday at the Largo Cultural Center's annual Elvis Birthday Bash.

The bash, in its sixth year, was started by Colin Bissett, the former cultural center manager. And it's very popular.

"It sells out every year," said Rob Mondora, the center's artistic supervisor. "That's why we keep doing it."

This year, six Elvis tribute artists, each representing a different era of Elvis' career, will perform.

Mondora, who used to be the center's tech director, said he has seen every bash and gets a kick out of watching ladies line up by the stage to get a scarf and a kiss on the cheek from the singers.

Jeremy Ewbank, one of the artists, said this event is different than other Elvis shows.

Often, when Elvis tribute artists get together, there's some type of contest, said Ewbank, 41.

Here, he said, "A lot of guys come together and celebrate Elvis' life and what he's contributed to America."

Ewbank has been performing professionally as Elvis for about 20 years. He started impersonating Elvis as a kid, standing in front of the mirror, slicking back his hair and singing Blue Suede Shoes.

Today, the Tampa resident also works as a DJ and a notary and marries people as Elvis.

At the bash, Ewbank plans to wear black leather and perform from Elvis' 1968 comeback special, singing Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, All Shook Up and others.

Another tribute artist, Bill Akins, hasn't hammered out his lineup yet, but said he plans to wear a white or powder blue jumpsuit from Elvis' Vegas days.

Akins, 57, of Hudson, an Elvis impersonator for 25 years, got the idea as an actor doing theater, performing Oklahoma!. People in the cast told him he sounded like Elvis.

The bash also will feature a meet and greet after the show, a birthday cake and a cash bar, Mondora said.

Ewbank, who has been doing the show about five years, said it draws hard-core fans.

"They know what they're going to get," Ewbank said. "They know we're going to mix it up, with the songs and the eras.

"They know we're not there for ourselves. They know we're there for Elvis."

If you go

Elvis Birthday Bash

2 p.m. Jan. 2 at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive.

Ticket prices: $20 in advance, $25 VIP, $25 day of show.

For information or tickets: Visit largoarts.com or call the cultural center box office at (727) 587-6793 after it reopens Tuesday.

Elvis facts

Given name: Elvis Aaron

Presley

Birthplace: Tupelo, Miss.

Birth date: Jan. 8, 1935

Date of death: Aug. 16, 1977, at his Memphis home, Graceland

Source: elvis.com

Tribute artists to perform at Elvis Birthday Bash in Largo 12/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 25, 2010 3:31am]
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