Kings for a day: Lawrence’s first Elvis parade, sing-off draws a crowd

Richard Renner, right, strikes a pose for members of the Happy Time Squares square-dance organization before the first Downtown Lawrence Elvis Spectacular kicks off with a parade Saturday. The parade was followed with an Elvis Sing-Off competition and the annual Rev It Up car show in South Park.

An army of Elvi streamed down Massachusetts Street on Saturday for the Downtown Lawrence Elvis Spectacular. Afterward, the Elvi congregated at South Park for a sing-off. Elvi young and old gyrated hips and curled lips doing their best Elvis impersonations.

Michael Chase won first place in the Elvis impersonation contest, which was just one part of the all-day event that started with a parade and included professional Elvis tribute artist Jeff Bergen, who crooned such songs as “Little Sister,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hurt.”

Clustered to the side of the stage were a couple of bobby soxers with red poodle skirts and long pony tails.

About a hundred people sat in lawn chairs or stood under shade trees to watch. Among them was 11-year-old Gibson Huston.

Wearing a white jumpsuit flecked with gold and a red scarf tied around his neck, with his blonde locks shining in the sun, Gibson danced.

Gibson is a big Elvis fan: He dressed as Elvis on Halloween and at his 10th birthday party, where he performed for his friends.

The Elvis Spectacular teamed up with the Rev It Up Hot Rod Hullabaloo, also going on in South Park on Saturday. Many vintage hot rods were on display as Elvi took over the park.

Danny Newman, of Eudora, came for the cars. He spent the morning peering at the display, hoping to get ideas on how to improve his own — he brought a 1927 Ford, called a Tall T, for the show.

Roger Lee, of Lawrence, stumbled on the event by accident. He lives in the neighborhood and often checks out events at South Park.

“I was just going to do a walk-through, but now I’m hooked,” Lee said.

Gibson’s mother, Saasha, was also hooked. And it was clear why she and Gibson were there.

“We’re here for Elvis,” she said.