Elvis rocks up for event

16:00, Feb 18 2013
BIG CROWD: More than 12,000 people turned out for last year’s event.

The man once judged the world's best Elvis will help convert the Auckland Botanic Gardens into Gracelands for a day this weekend.

World-class performer Dean Vegas has donated his time to perform at the annual free Elvis in the Gardens concert on Sunday.

The Queenslander has been performing throughout the world for more than 15 years and has taken part in many Elvis tribute artist competitions.

He competed against 100 other performers in 2001 at the world's largest Elvis festival, finally winning the coveted title of the World's Best Elvis.

Vegas is also Australia's only official Elvis marriage celebrant and has appeared in numerous TV commercials, movies and shows.

He has also performed with the Sweet Inspirations, the real Elvis' female backing singers in the 1970s, and his original backing singers the Jordanaires.


When Vegas was invited to sing in Elvis' home town of Tulepo the mayor later presented him with the key to the city.

When he is not busy touring and wowing audiences with his show, Vegas has a penchant for local body politics and is well known on the Gold Coast where he ran for mayor a few years ago.

Elvis in the Gardens began four years ago when organisers Kerryn and Katrina Winn decided to use their career skills and give back to the community by launching a top-quality annual free concert to encourage family and community togetherness.

A bucket collection is taken to support a different charity each year. This year's charity is the Youth Foundation's KiwiCan school programme in South Auckland.

"We don't want this event to create any financial pressure for parents so the bouncy castles, face painting and Buzzy Bee rides are entirely free," Ms Winn says.

A lineup of professional performers guarantees entertainment from noon to 6pm. The event ends with a double - Dean Vegas and another Australian tribute artist Paul Fenech.

Visit elvisinthegardens.co.nz for details of the event

Manukau Courier