24 Hours of Elvis: 10:45 p.m. – The Candle Light Vigil

Posted by Holly Whitfield | August 15th 2011 4021 0

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:

Shrine, Candle Light Vigil, Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

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:

Burning Love, Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

This house-shaped shrine was one of my favorites:

House Shrine, Memphis, Tenn.

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.

Elvis, Candle Light Vigil, Memphis, Tenn.

Elvis, Candle Light Vigil, Memphis, Tenn.

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).

Shrine, Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

Shrine, Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

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.

Candle Light Vigil, Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

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.

Go There:

Candle Light Vigil


3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38116

(901) 332-3322

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. lynda says:

    Hope everyone enjoys the Elvis Week – I am sure it gives an insight into a fine performer. Plan to go next year, 2012. He touched people’s heart in a special way to have this event continue on 34 years after his death. His music and movies make so many people happy still to this day. It is a phenomenon.

  2. antoinette says:

    it is still very hard to say rest in peace elvis 34 years had passed but it seems like yestarday .we still love your music ,and your still the great ,love from malta

  3. Dan K. says:

    I love his songs he is always the king of rock .

  4. Sam Crespo says:


    Loved the Elvis coverage. I did a tribute as well in my latest video for DiscoverAmerica.com:


  5. […] I was on August 16th…. well in Memphis we remember another August 16th event too (check the I Love Memphis blog), but this was something in […]

  6. Lovely blog on Vigil candles
    Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Good job
    Keep sharing more and more.

  7. I love ELVIS Forever, best singer ever!!!

  8. I sing very closed to Elvis's voice. I do Elvis shows in La.  I'd like to sing at Graceland one day.  I have beautiful costumes and all the Elvis songs he recorded.  People here in La. loves my show. 
    Is there anyway I can do a show at Graceland?
    Thanks, Joe Milazzo   Cell Phone:  337-501-1097

  9. […] I was on August 16th…. well in Memphis we remember another August 16th event too (check the I Love Memphis blog), but this was something in […]

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