Chris MacDonald, one of the tribute artists who will be taking the stage Saturday with his outfits and gyrating dance moves, says he is pleased to help raise money that could lead to greater youth exposure to arts and music.
"When it comes to theater or acting or music, it's all a part of who we are as humans," he says. "It's very important. It's a way of expressing yourself."
MacDonald says he was a child when he got interested in performing, mostly from watching Elvis movies and specials with his mother. Now he says he has a "great time" bringing to life "The King's" career.
"I really have a lot of fun entertaining people," he says. "Luckily (Elvis) covered music all through the '50s, '60s and '70s. That's a lot of material."
MacDonald has performed as part of the Elvis Lives event in past years and says he's excited to return. "The fans in (Hagerstown) were just very, very nice to entertain," he says. "That's why I'm coming back."
Shawn Klush is one of four Elvis tribute artists who will be a part of the show. He says the best part of his job is introducing audiences to the music of Elvis and bringing it to life for those who experienced it live.
David Lee and Jamie Aaron Kelley will join Klush and MacDonald entertaining Elvis fans Saturday night.
The Williamsport High School Sophisti'Cats' will kick off the event with their singing and dancing rendition of "Jailhouse Rock" with choreography styled after the famous Elvis movie.
Each tribute artist then will perform two sets with a grand finale that combines the four performers. The audience will be able to get artist autographs and Elvis memorabilia from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday and during the show.
The whole show will take place indoors for the first time at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center Antietam Creek at 901 Dual Highway. Previous shows were held outdoors in downtown Hagerstown.
Already organizers have sold hundreds of tickets. "Now that it's indoors advance ticket sales are doing very well," Riford says.
Elvis fans who attend the event will see a "Las Vegas-style show" with round tables arranged throughout the Clarion ballroom. VIP seating is available near the front of the stage and Riford says those tickets are selling quickly.
When the Elvis music festival started four years ago, organizers thought the event was "sort of goofy," Riford says. "Then we realized there's a real community out there that follows Elvis so closely that there are fan clubs all across the country."
Many of those fan clubs have found out about Hagerstown's annual event and plan to attend, he says. "Events like this in our community are important not only for the fundraising aspect, but to help bring visitors from out of town" and to provide another enjoyable event for area residents, Riford says. "We're going to have a very, very good turnout."
If you go ...
WHAT: Fourth annual Elvis Lives in Hagerstown Music Festival
WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10; doors open at 3 p.m.
WHERE: Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 901 Dual Highway, Hagerstown
COST: Tickets in advance are $25 for VIP seating and $15 general admission; day of the show, tickets cost $30 for VIP seating and $20 general admission.
MORE: For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.elvislivesinhagerstown.com or call Donna Long at the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce office: 301-739-2015, ext. 100.