New $28.75 Charge for Elvis Vigil Riles Fans

Annual event at Graceland used to be free
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2017 1:25 PM CDT
Elvis Fans Not Happy About $28.75 Charge for Vigil
Flowers, signs, and other tributes left by fans fill the meditation garden where Elvis Presley is buried alongside his parents and grandmother at Graceland, Presley's Memphis home, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn.    (Brandon Dill)

For nearly four decades, fans of Elvis Presley have made a solemn procession past his grave at his Graceland during the annual candlelight vigil commemorating his death, without paying a penny. This year, on the 40th anniversary of his death, it cost them $28.75. Many fans were not happy. Visitors attending the vigil that began Tuesday night and runs into Wednesday had to have an Elvis Week Property Pass wristband to walk up the long driveway and past the graves where Presley and relatives are buried, Graceland told the AP. The $28.75 wristband also provided access to a new $45 million entertainment complex at the Memphis tourist attraction. Access to restaurants, gift shops, and an entertainment tent where people gathered before the vigil used to be free. Now, access to them is included in the fee to enter the complex.

The announcement surprised fans who didn't know about the charge when they made plans to come to Elvis Week. Some reacted with angry messages on social media, saying they won't attend another vigil. Cheryl Skogen was third in line waiting on Tuesday morning for the vigil later that evening. "I don't think Elvis would like it if he knew the fans were charged to go up and see," she said. Graceland said it anticipated large crowds and updated its security measures for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career. "In order to keep everyone safe and ensure an enjoyable and meaningful event for all, we have worked closely with local, state, and federal security authorities to establish new procedures that have been widely used across the US," Graceland said. (More Elvis Presley stories.)

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