TUPELO – “Elvis” entered Tupelo Hardware throughout the weekend to purchase his very first guitar – during a series reenactments, that is.
Elvis, brought to life by 12-year-old Tanner Palmer, entered the shop with his mother Gladys, played by Jennifer Collins, originally to purchase a gun.
The gun was a birthday present, but the shop owner Forest Bobo, played by Allen Cayson, persuaded him to buy a guitar instead.
His mother was thrilled when young Elvis picked the guitar over the rifle that long-ago day.
During the reenactments young Elvis sang his heart out after strumming a chord on his new guitar.
A crowd of people applauded after capturing the unique moment on their phones.
Collins said this was her first time doing a reenactment like this. She said she directed the movie that plays at Elvis’ Birthplace.
She said she certainly knows of Elvis but is not a super fan.
“I have an appreciation of him as an artist,” Collins said.
Collin said she does other forms of acting and lives in Mantatchie.
Cayson, a teacher in the Lee County School district, said he actually saw Elvis in the casket after he died.
He said his parents were big Elvis Presley fans.
“We had tickets to his concert, but he died two weeks before,” Cayson said.
This was young Elvis, or Palmer’s, first time to do something like this as well. However, the Baldwyn resident said he was excited.
“I’m excited about people coming from all over,” Palmer said.
Connie Tullos, an Elvis Fan Club member and Tupelo Hardware employee, said the purpose of the weekend is to recognize the importance of Elvis’ legacy.
“He really put Tupelo on the map,” Tullos said.
She said this was the first time the hardware store had the actual guitar Elvis purchased out on display. The owner of the guitar is Larry Moss, who brought it to Tupelo to be displayed during the festival. He says it is the guitar Gladys Presley bought her son when they lived in Tupelo.
The guitar was originally purchased Jan. 8, 1946.
Tullos said the fan club works to provide scholarships and donate to places like the Birthplace and St. Jude in Memphis.
She said the funds are raised by selling Elvis Presley car tags.
“Our fan club is not only dedicated to promoting and preserving the image of Elvis and his music, movies and works in a respectful manner, but also to carry on his legacy through charitable efforts,” according to the club’s website.
“We try to do what Elvis did,” said Tullos. “We try to help people.”
She said she hopes the festival grows larger every year.