So, Jeff and I went on the most perfect date on Friday night. We traveled 30 whole minutes to partake in the Big “E” Festival in Cornelia, Georgia. An annual festival exclusively for Elvis devotees, I am baffled it took me so long to make the pilgrimage. Friday night featured performances by winners from previous years, the junior level of the competition was absolutely mind boggling, and then there was this guy.
He performed for over an hour as if he was singing to a stadium and not a bunch of folks on the front porch of the Loudermilk Boarding House Museum. And he was fantastic. He was much better than that dope in Memphis that said he was present the day Elvis passed and was allegedly one of his best friends… I wasn’t convinced at all. (That dude seemed as if he’d told enough tall tales that they eventually became fact.)
I was in absolute heaven, the best cheap date night ever, live music, museum tour, shaved ice for two, it was awesome. The museum itself featured the most bizarre assortment of Elvis memorabilia, anything and everything king-related, but with a top-notch gift shop, I had to restrain myself, really I did.
Okay, I geeked out a little bit, I’ll admit.
Even though it was an almost perfect evening, I must say that I have one small criticism of the event. The lady that has shouldered the responsibility for the event seemed a little bit off. And not in her devotion to Elvis, that was spot on. Rather I’m speaking of her enthusiasm for the event itself. As she was kicking things off and thanking her helpers she also stated to the crowd that it would be the last year that the festival was at the boarding house and she was not sure where it would go to, if anywhere, next year. When asked by a disappointed audience member the reason why, she flatly stated “Cuz it’s too much work.”
It sort of put us off just a little. Yes, it was probably true. Yes, holding this particular festival in such a small town is probably a thankless and exhausting job. Maybe the city doesn’t support her as it should? The bank let her borrow the tents and she seemed to have printers support in signage, etc. I don’t know for certain the details and won’t presume to understand, but you surely don’t say something like that to your guests, many of whom have traveled from out of state to support your wackiness. It made us feel a little like she had said “thanks for coming, paying entry, shopping the gift shop, supporting the vendors, but you really aren’t worth all the trouble.” Also, part of the draw for coming to this event is that the ticket price (a nominal $10) included a tour of the museum. As far as venues go, the front porch of the boarding house made a quaint and homey yet kitschy backdrop to a wonderful group of performers. I can’t imagine folks would want to go to this anywhere else. It made me sad, but I am glad I got to see the 10th Annual Big E Festival in all its glory before it is ultimately retired.