On the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, fans from around the world made pilgrimage to Graceland to pay homage Sunday to the King.
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The annual gathering began the year after Presley’s death in the Memphis mansion August 16, 1977.
As fans entered the gates of the 13-acre estate, bands played some of Presley’s most popular ballads, like “If I Can Dream” and “Fools Rush In.” Later, within the gates, the devoted silently passed by Presley’s grave and held an overnight candlelight vigil.
Emotional fans braved heat and humidity for the highlight of the week-long celebration of Presley’s life, which features club meetings. film screenings and Elvis impersonator competitions.
For some fans, the anniversary was a deeply personal event.
Thomas Hollis, 52, told AP that at the vigil, he thought of his wife, who died in May. They had attended five Elvis vigils together.
This year, Hollis’ granddaughter carried a candle for his wife.
“This vigil is kind of like for Elvis, and kind of like for her, too,” said Hollis, from Louisville, Ky. “It’s rough this year … I’ve been through down times myself for a while, but I listen to his music and it keeps me going.”