Elvis Presley’s death rocked the nation almost 40 years ago, but a local tribute artist is hoping to preserve Presley’s memory with a lively performance at Capital Lakefair this year.
Danny Vernon first fell in love with Presley and his music as a young child. Vernon listened to his father’s vinyl records and said he was hooked after listening to Presley’s “intimate voice.” Vernon said he hopes to bring many to their feet with his music Friday at Lakefair’s 50-Plus event at Heritage Park. His performance will be 1-2:15 p.m.
All the 59th annual Lakefair activities will run through Sunday.
Vernon said he loves to perform and connect with people through Presley’s music.
“Singing is like breathing to me,” he said. “It’s very therapeutic. It is a great opportunity to connect with other people through your voice.”
The tribute singer said his favorite song is always the one he’s working on. Recently, he’s been practicing Presley’s “Wheels on My Heels,” which was released in 1964 for the movie “Roustabout.”
“I like to live through my audience’s eyes,” Vernon said. “That makes it fresh for me. I love connecting with other people through Elvis’ music.”
He said he remembers when Elvis was on the Ed Sullivan show and how different he was from the other performers.
“When Elvis came on you could tell that he was different,” he said. “He was all twisted and tangled and shouting and screaming. It really did change America’s popular culture.”
Vernon grew up in Puyallup and said he’s probably done more than 1,000 performances throughout his career.
One fan of his made a journal of his shows and later gifted it to Vernon before her passing. He said there were more than 500 entries in it, each with a description of his performance.
“That was pretty dang special,” he said. “There’s a connection and history there. I’ve gotten lofted with love and gifts from people who are Elvis fans and treat me like part of the family. It’s pretty special.”
Vernon said he sees his performances as a way to relive memories from the ’50s and ’60s.
“You’re not just playing the music,” he said. “It’s reliving a moment and it becomes not just a remembered moment, but a here-and-now moment.”
There also will be a raffle drawing every hour during the event, and this year’s 50-Plus activities include a cakewalk, a dance floor and a caricature artist who will be drawing on unique stationary he made for the event.
Lakefair continues at 9 a.m. Friday with a performance by Entertainment Masters DJ Lianna Mason. Other weekend highlights include the car show starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Marathon Park, the grand parade starting at 5 p.m. Saturday and the fireworks finale about 10 p.m. Sunday.
“Anything to make their day,” said Marcy Angel-Rosenlund, marketing coordinator and co-chairwoman of event planning for the event. “It’s a great way to give back to the community.”
What: The 59th annual Capital Lakefair, which takes place on the shores of Capitol Lake, is a five-day celebration filled with music, carnival rides, shows, fireworks and a grand parade.
When: From noon-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Where: Capitol Lake, Olympia.
Cost: Admission is free; take money for rides, games, food, etc.
Information: 360-943-7344, lakefair.org.