Elvis Week is getting underway in Memphis, Tennessee, and while I can’t be there, I can still celebrate, because my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin is where the King once broke up a fight at a gas station in the middle of the night. Plus: Hastings, Nebraska is kicking off the annual Kool-Aid Days.
About Elvis Week (Graceland)
Neglected marker shows where Elvis Presley in a karate stance stopped a fight in Madison in 1977 (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Kool-Aid Days (Visit Nebraska)
Today in Memphis is the first day of the annual Elvis Week.
Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, hosts this annual celebration of the King’s music, movies and life, culminating in an overnight candlelight vigil at his grave.
The center of Elvis Week festivities may be Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, but it’s not the only place to mark the occasion.
In my hometown, Madison, Wisconsin, we can commemorate the King by retelling the time he came to town, and broke up a fight in the middle of the night.
As local news reports and locals retell it, Elvis was in town in 1977 for a show on what would be his final tour. The King and his court were traveling in two limousines at about 1 in the morning when they drove past a Skyland service station, where a former employee and another man were in a scuffle with the son of the gas station’s owner.
Wise men say only fools rush in, but Elvis decided it was up to him to stop this fight before it started. He got out of the limo, walked over to the station and broke up the fight, getting into a karate stance and reportedly saying “I’ll take you two on.”
The men, now faced with a fight not against a gas station attendant but one of the most famous men in the world, stood down.
Elvis asked “is everything settled now?” and after being assured that everything was, he headed back to his limo and drove away.
Presley only lived 53 more days, but his heroics in Madison have not been forgotten. We have a commemorative plaque to mark the spot where he, in true Elvis fashion, took care of business.
Today the community of Hastings, Nebraska is kicking off the annual Kool-Aid Days, honoring the time when a man called Edwin Perkins invented the sweet, powdery stuff that fueled most of my summer days as a kid.
The festival includes music, food, activities, the world’s largest Kool-Aid stand, and – hopefully – people running through brick walls in the style of Kool-Aid Man.
I’ll be raising a glass of Mountainberry Punch to Hastings this weekend.