365 Things to Do in Memphis #224: Go to the Candlelight Vigil
Updated August 2017
The Candlelight Vigil is Elvis Week’s main event, and the only one that completely captures the week’s unique blend of reverence, kitsch, and fun. It’s also one of those things that you’ve got to do at least once before you die.
Assignment #224 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to queue up at the gates of Graceland for the Candlelight Vigil.
The annual candlelight vigil is an odd mixture of somber and celebratory. The devoted wait in line for hours to file quietly past Elvis’ gravesite. Others build makeshift shrines on the street and sit around them in lawn chairs. Quite a few people come in costume.
This year’s vigil starts at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night (August 15) though the hardcore will be lined up long before that. The line moves until everyone who’s wanted to pay their respects has had a chance – usually sometime early the next morning.
This year due to the huge crowds expected (it’s the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death) Graceland has announced that the Vigil will no longer be a free event. In order to participate in the procession (and other non-ticketed events during Elvis Week) you must have a Graceland Property Pass. This pass comes with the purchase of any of the Graceland tours (the cheapest one is $28.75) so most people who have flown in to Memphis for this will be visiting Graceland anyways and it will be no additional cost to them.
To the locals who might’ve just walked up and through the Vigil Procession, though, you’ll have to either buy a tour ticket that includes the Pass or you can just stand out in front of the Mansion. Read more details about this year’s changes on the Commercial Appeal.
Elvis Week Candlelight Vigil
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
8:30 p.m. – until (usually the wee hours of the morning)