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Why people love the Elvis Festival (Posted On: Sunday, July 15, 2007)

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With a record high of 144 Elvis rockin' and rollin' into Collingwood this year the festival promises to be bigger and better than ever with more venues, more performances and no doubt, more faithful fans to get their annual Elvis 'fix'. And it's a natural high that lasts for four days straight and one that people can take back home with them.

Jane Nadalin is a fan that cried for two weeks when Elvis Presley died. “I am a die hard Elvis fan and it was the end of an era in my life and for all people my age – we grew up with Elvis,” said the Brampton area woman.

Nadalin says for years after his death every time she thought of Elvis she felt a void inside her that would not go away – then she came to Collingwood in 1995. It was in the early years of the festival when Flying Elvi were dropping from the sky, people were running around with side burns and gold glasses and the beer gardens were still attached to the big front stage area. It was like a door had opened and she felt happy again.

Now like thousand of other fans who have found a way to fill the void, Nadalin marks her calendar every year and attends the festival to get her fill of swiveling hips and good old fashioned rock and roll music. “It takes me back to when I was a teenager – the atmosphere and the hype. Its amazing and it so much fun,” said Nadalin.

“Seeing the same people year after year – people that we met here and never see any other time other than at the festival is really exciting.”

Donna and Brian Chadderton came back to the festival for the second time last year and the middle aged couple thouhght it is “fabulous”.

“We have never been to anything like this before where everyone is like a big happy family. There are no rough edges with all these people – this is a place we feel safe and comfortable no matter what time it is,” said Chadderton of the 2006 festival.

“We were walking along at 1 a.m. in the morning and we felt completely safe and we were laughing in fact. Some of the people we saw were teetering but they were happy. Its a great atmosphere.”

Twelve-year old Alex Swindle of Birmingham Alabama is a youth tribute artist that thought Collingwood is “the best”. “I love it here - absolutely. I’ll come back for sure,” he said.

Buddies Joe Ippolito of Ancaster and Paul T. Cody of Cambridge Ontario had heard so much about the Collingwood Elvis Festival they thought they would drop in last year and check it out. The first thing they did was to buy cone head Elvis wigs and gold glasses to disguise themselves - so to speak. The whole world knows where they were, the pair ended up being the most photographed and interviewed fans in the crowd. “This is a blast – we will be back next year in jumpsuits and we’re bringing about 50 people with us,” laughed Ippolito. “This is great clean fun and the talent has been amazing - those little kids singing totally amazed me.”

Cathy Howe from Acton has been coming to Collingwood to the festival for six years and she biting at the bit waiting for Elvis weekend to get here. She stays with relatives and would not miss it for the world. “Last year I brought a friend with me that's never been to it before – she was an Elvis virgin and she loved it,” said Howe.

“It’s a lot of fun and there is so much talent and so many people interested in Elvis after so many years it just floors me. The festival is very well organized – Collingwood does a great job.”

Last year marked Lisa Rodway's fourth year but she cried all weekend the year before when she missed it. The Brampton woman says can't wait for the party of the year and she looks forward to it like no other event. “Everyone here is different ages and but they all get along and have a mutual interest – they are all here to have a good time,” said Rodway. “I really miss the Mountainview though. I think they should have a bigger venue like that again with a rock band, but periodic Elvis performers like it did before. That was perfect. It was fun when the beer garden was at the end of the main street too, so people could hear and watch the stage from there while socializing. You didn’t miss anything.”

Guess what Lisa??? Your wish has come true. Thanks to the Collingwood Progress Club music will be blaring from the end of Hurontario Street again this year and it will be coming from "The Mountainview Revival".

Getting from one venue to another will be a piece of cake this year as well with FREE shuttle service between venues and out of town locations (on Saturday).

By Sharon Weatherall for mycollingwood.ca

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