For one weekend out of every year, Ocean City gets All Shook Up and becomes a Promised Land for Elvis fans who just Can’t Help Falling in Love with the Ocean City Elvis Festival. But it’s not happening at the Heartbreak Hotel–the four-day festival is actually located at the Clarion Resort Fountainebleau Hotel on 101st street.
Bad puns aside, the Elvis Festival is one of the most unique events to ever hit OC, making Coastal Highway look more like the Las Vegas strip from October 19 – 22.
Elvis by the Atlantic
This is Ocean City’s fourth year hosting an Elvis Festival. In 2014, Sherry Management brought the festival, sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., to Ocean City in order to replace the Pocono Mountains Elvis Festival.
“They were looking for a new location to replace that festival, so they came down to Ocean City and of course we were a good fit because of the size of our Crystal Ballroom,” said Jackie Berger, Sales Manager at the Clarion. “They loved the idea of having everything in one location, so we partnered with them and decided to have it as a package.”
The Elvis Festival isn’t exclusive to Maryland–there’s also one in Georgia, New York, Vegas and Memphis–but followers of Elvis Fest travel from all over the United States to see Ocean City’s version of the event.
“We have people coming from Florida, Las Vegas, from the New England area,” Berger said. “The Elvis Festival has a big following because they do these festivals across the country, and we’re getting a lot of the attendees who used to go to the Poconos coming down here.”
Festival schedule (it’s more than “One Night”)
–In fact, it’s four, and there’s a lot happening during each of them. Details, times and admission prices are available here.
Thursday night kicks the weekend off with a Welcome Karaoke Party hosted by Dan Barrella in the Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant.
On Friday is the first round of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, where Elvis impersonators perform four songs and compete to represent Ocean City at the annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis, TN. Later there’s a Headline Show featuring Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Dean Z followed by the Great ETA Auction to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Saturday features round two of the Ultimate ETA Contest, “’56,” a rockabilly show starring Cody Ray Slaughter, and a “Spooktacular” Halloween Costume Ball.
On Sunday there’s an Elvis Gospel Music Event, the final round of the Ultimate ETA Contest and a Fabulous Fifties Wrap Party to close out the weekend.
“A great time to come for guests to come and have a fun time with the impersonators is Sunday at the Fabulous Fifties Wrap Party,” Berger said. The Wrap Party is free to the public.
See it for yourself
Tickets to the Elvis festival are usually included in a hotel package offered by the Clarion (a package which no one, by the way, would ever want to Return to Sender).
This year, the Clarion is selling a limited number of gold and platinum passes for Ocean City locals, who won’t need to get a room at the hotel in order to partake in the ticketed festivities. Those interested in purchasing tickets can call Jackie Berger between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 410-390-4011 or make a purchase on Friday afternoon outside of the Clarion’s Crystal Ballroom. More information on tickets and packages is available here.
“It’s a fun, fun event if you love Elvis and Elvis impersonators,” Berger said. “They are so nice and fun, and the after-events held in the Ocean Club are open to the public and they are free.”