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The Kings are wild: Elvis artists wow crowd at Big E Festival
Doug Thompson performs before a capacity crowd Saturday afternoon at the Main Street Event Center in Cornelia during the annual Elvis tribute artists competition as part of the annual Big E Fest.

The Main Street Event Facility in Cornelia was turned into a Vegas lounge for the afternoon on Saturday as Elvis fans from around the region gathered for the 14th Big E Fest and ETA Competition.

Multicolored lights reflected off the spangled jumpsuits of some 14 ETAs — Elvis tribute artists — who were performing almost 40 years to the day when Elvis Presley died suddenly on Aug. 16, 1977. From “Can’t Help Falling in Love” to “Suspicious Minds,” the performers’ songs and outfits spanned all three decades of Elvis’ career.

First organized by Joni Mabe in 1999, the Big E Fest was held many years at Mabe’s Loudermilk Boarding House, which also houses an Elvis museum. Host and emcee for the event was Robbie Dean Scott, an ETA himself and veteran of the Big E Fest. 

This year’s competition featured many who return to the event regularly, including winner Damon Hendrix of Cumming. The People’s Choice Award was given to Jacob Vetter of Abbeyville, S.C.