Well.....it was quite a weekend! And, as always, there was just so much to see and do in Collingwood, Ontario during the 2004 Collingwood Elvis Festival Weekend that a person just couldn’t get around to see and do everything --although I gave it a good try!
A big congratulations to Festival Chairperson, Peter Dunbar, Festival office manager, Rosemarie, all the committee members, organizers, and the hard-working, tireless volunteers for producing what many are saying was one of the best Collingwood Festival weekends in years! Thanks, too, to Karen Cubitt and Marianne Lewis who made life easy for the media and were so accommodating!
Congratulations, also, to the contest winners and finalists (see details on our “updates” page): David Lee, Shon Carroll, Pete Paquette, Marcus Wells, Paul Fracassi, and Steven Pelleriti and John Loos, Michael John, Irv Cass, Luc Bissonette, Terry Collins, Mike Calamusa, Mike Bravener, Marc Smith, Josh Bravener, Johnny Mayorov, Spencer Bristow, and Milan Beker.
A big thanks to winners of the 10 previous years’ contests for returning (some traveling considerable distances) to entertain the fans at the terrific matinee and Saturday evening headliner shows: Dean Vegas, Chris Purtee, Leo Days, Anthony Von, Shawn Barry, Jeff Bodner, Robin Kelly, Matt King, Gino Monopoli, Paul Ross, Vili Verhovsek, Ray Guillemette, Shane Jeffrey, Roy LeBlanc, Zachary Peddie, Matthew Lawrence.
As always, the traditional Friday night “Elvis Street Dance” marked the official kickoff of the weekend and was a great way for fans to meet up with old friends and to see which ETA’s were in town! Another tradition, the Saturday morning pancake breakfast, followed by the big parade, saw the streets of Collingwood lined with thousands of fans as ETA’s drove by in classic cars and provided lots of photo opportunities. I noticed a few OPP officers getting into the swing of things too! The Sunday morning gospel service also drew large numbers to enjoy the service and the performances by ETA’s Jim Anderson, Leo Days, Mike Bravener, Patrick Lucknow and Robert Pooran. During the course of the weekend, many ETA’s also acted as venue hosts and fans enjoyed traveling to the different venues to see a sampling of their favourite ETA’s. At night, ETA’s such as Anthony Von, Gino Monopoli, Stephen Kabakos, performed full-length shows at the same venues. One ETA whose performance I caught was Tim E, who drew in the crowds and had them dancing up a storm! Thanks to all the hosts, organizers, venue owners and ETA’s who contributed to each of these events.
During the Fest, fans could also spend hours at the vendors’ tables..choosing from a wide variety of Elvis memorabilia, music, clothing items, and much more! Several familiar faces I spotted were Nella and Brian Allward, of King Collectibles, and Ralph Foster of King Tracks who had traveled to Collingwood from Tennessee.
The final “farewell get-together” at Don Cherry’s after the Sunday night contest was a nice touch this year also..with ETA’s giving informal performances, and the fans having a chance to mix and mingle and say their “goodbyes” before the weekend came to a close. Hopefully, this will become another Collingwood Fest tradition.
Following are some of the other highlights of the Collingwood weekend for me...and pics of some of the people who helped to make the festival a memorable one. We’ll have many more pics next month...but here’s a sampling to start with....and a few extra “kudos!"
Best Elvis voice I heard all weekend...Ron Moore singing “My Wish Came True.”
Some of the best dressed ETA’s I saw: Glenn Aitchison, Bob Hajas, Nigel Perreira, Irv Cass, Gary Britt, Roy LeBlanc, Lance Dobinson, Rick Duin, Pete Paquette, Dan Granger, Daniel Boone and kudos to all the many ETA's this year who looked great, and had obviously taken great care with their appearance and their clothes.
Absolutely brilliant Master of Ceremonies: Roy LeBlanc
“You’ve come a long way” award....from starting as an ETA at last year’s Festival to making the finals this year: David Muggeridge.
Mr. Showman.....most enjoyable version of Suspicious Minds I’ve seen and heard in a long time..... and best smile by a mile: Dean Vegas
The “looks more like Elvis every time I see him” award...Gino Monopoli
Amazing performance of American Trilogy....Jeff Bodner
“You Go Girl” awards to Laura Landauer and Deborah Wynne Rotz..both turning in their own dynamite tributes to Elvis!
Other performances of note: Paul Ross, John Preston, Chris Solano, James Begley, Clint Lucier, Logan Thomas Schram, Jackson Begley.
“Great to see you back” award to Frankie Greco, one of the original ETA supporters of the Collingwood Elvis Festival and a long-time fan favourite!
The “So Glad I Won” award for the best jumping, lifting and twirling performance of the weekend! .....David Lee
“Fans of the Year” ....President, Ronda Marson, and members of the “Love for Elvis” Fan Club who decorated a float, put on their 50's outfits, and participated in the parade...in addition to “TCB’ing for Elvis” all year round and donating money to charities in his name!
“Awesome House Band” award to Paco Danesi and the Casino Brothers Band with the TCB Horns, and incredible female vocalists Lora Cotter and Daphne Moens.
“Timbit” award to ETA Joe Zambri and all the ETA’s who performed at Tim Horton’s throughout the weekend ..(some ETA’s I saw were: Rick Duin, Doug MacKenzie, Bruce Herron, Frankie Greco, Robert Pooran, Wayne Curtis). Congratulations to Joe Zambri, who, this year, did actually receive an award and recognition from Tim Horton’s for organizing the fund-raising sing-a-longs held there over the years...raising almost $4,000 for the Tim Horton Children’s Fund and providing lots of after-hours fun for the fans....way to go, Joe and all the ETA’s who’ve performed for the fans!).
Kudos to the many children who performed as ETA’s during the weekend, including those who were in the Children’s Youth Talent Showcase....ensuring that Elvis’ music and legacy will last for yet another generation! Highlights for me included Josh and Maiya Bravener’s rendition of “The Lady Loves Me, “ Spencer and Sabrina Bristow’s “Old Shep,” Zachary Peddie’s “Love Me Tender” and 6 yr. old Brennan Katalinsky’s first ETA performance ever in front of his surprised Dad who knew nothing about it and was moved to tears!
There are so many more people, too numerous to mention, who contributed to the success of the 10th Annual Collingwood Elvis Fest.. Enjoy the pics and your own memories of Collingwood 2004.....more pics coming next month!