If you go
If you go
ELVIS FEST 5
Where: Event pavilion at Seminole Casino Immokalee, 506 S. First St., Immokalee
■ 8 p.m. Friday, June 22, Dwight Icenhower concert
■ Saturday, June 23: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Elvis Tribute Artists’ Contest qualifying round; 5:30 p.m. Elvis Fest 4 winner Todd Martin performs; 7:30 p.m. Great Pretenders’ concert
■ Sunday, June 24: 2 to 5 p.m. Elvis Tribute Artists’ finals; 6:30 p.m. Great Pretenders concert; 8 p.m. Elvis Fest 5 winners announced
Cost: $15, Dwight Icenhower concert (tickets available at the casino cage or by calling 1-800-218-0007); rest of Elvis Fest 5 is free
Prepare to be all shook up.
Elvis Fest returns this weekend to Seminole Casino Immokalee. Elvis — anywhere from 10 to 18 of him — will be in the building, competing to win a hunka' hunka' burning love from the crowd, and be crowned this year's King.
This may also be your only chance to get away with eating a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich ($8 at the Ee-To-Leet-Ke Grill) and enjoy other Elvis-inspired culinary creations like the You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog or a Blue Hawaiian.
Even 35 years after his death, Elvis can still draw crowds. "It fits our demographics, and the crowd really gets into it," Cathy Baker, advertising and PR manager at the Immokalee casino, said. Baker expects they will have more than 1,000 people through the doors each day of the festival.
The fifth annual festival featuring three days of Elvis, starts tonight with a concert by Dwight Icenhower.
Icenhower, who has headlined as Elvis in venues from the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers to Las Vegas and Japan, was the winner of the Immokalee casino's Elvis Fest 3 in 2010. But don't call him an Elvis impersonator.
"I'm an Elvis tribute artist. I take this seriously," he said. "When I'm offstage, you'd have no clue that I do Elvis. That's what separates me from the impersonators. I know guys who go into Walmart in a wig and a jumpsuit, just for attention."
Icenhower, who just turned 31, has been doing Elvis since age 16, when his high school band director decided to do a "Birth of Rock 'n' Roll" show, and tapped him for the part.
"I never dreamed I'd be doing this for this long, but the crowds respond," Icenhower said. He does 200 shows a year, accompanied by his wife of three years who, Icenhower said, "does everything but perform."
His Elvis' repertoire spans from the '50s to the "early jumpsuit era" — one of his favorite to perform.
"Songs like 'Suspicious Minds' have a big vocal," he said. "People don't want to remember the later era." Another personal favorite is "Are You Lonesome Tonight."
But wherever he sings, the first number people want to hear is "Jailhouse Rock."
"That's one of my least favorite — you do it so many times," Icenhower said. "Way more than Elvis ever did."
Dwight Icenhower, who performs as one icon of 1950s America and was named for another, believes the appeal of Elvis will endure.
"Elvis fans will never die out. He was the first person to come along with everything — the looks, the voice, the moves. He was the total package," said Icenhower.