24 Hours of Elvis: 10:45 p.m. – The Candle Light Vigil
It’s officially the end of Elvis Week 2011, and the closing ceremonies are underway.
Every year, Elvis week is punctuated with the candle light vigil at Graceland. The street is shut down, shrines are set up, candles are lit, and Elvis’ gospel classics are played. The vibe is part barbecue block party, part funeral. Tonight, more than 20,000 people are at Graceland, waiting patiently in line (sometimes for hours) to file past Elvis’ grave site.
Here are some photos from the 34th annual Candle Light Vigil:
If there was an award for “most flammable” shrine, I think this one would have to be the winner. Call it burning love, I guess:
This house-shaped shrine was one of my favorites:
I was surprised by how many people I saw at the vigil in costume. It’s a fairly sedate, quiet affair, and I wasn’t sure that it was appropriate to come dressed as Elvis. I suppose it is, based on the sheer number of people I saw paying sartorial homage.
The shrines ranged from the simple (handfuls of candles on aluminum foil, cheeseburger wrappers, chalk drawings) to the elaborate (complete with photos, stuffed bears and an inexplicable toy horse).
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the line to go to the grave was crazy long. The line of light that you see is people that have gotten through the gates and gotten a candle, but haven’t made it up the driveway.
The candle light vigil is going on until every one that wants to visit the grave has had a chance to. Usually, it lasts until about 5 a.m., so if you’d like to go, you’ve still got plenty of time. Parking is free at Graceland.
Candle Light Vigil