PORTAGE | Dyan Fearson says she has traveled from Germantown, Wis., to attend the Elvis Fantasy Fest in Portage for so many years that she can’t even remember how long it has been.
All she knows is that she loves Elvis.
“I love his voice, I love his looks, I love his moves. You name it, he had it!” Fearson says.
The event, which takes place at Woodland Park all weekend, is in its 21st year, but founder and director Kay Lipps says the festival is all about having a good time and honoring the memory of Elvis.
“I like to remember Elvis Presley and his performances, but I also like to remember his charitable ways, so this event is a perfect combination of both aspects of his life,” says Lipps.
Special Olympics is the beneficiary of those “charitable ways” as the Elvis Fantasy Fest raises funds for the organization's programs.
Lipps says that last year’s event raised $14,335 for the Special Olympics and they hope to raise a similar amount this year.
New this year is a production team that has joined forces to grow the event and take over some of the hard work that fell on Lipps’ shoulders.
Jason Sherry, of elvisfestival.com in Vermont, is producing the festival. He says the goal is to bring a professional show to some 1,500 attendees who are expected to come to Portage for the popular event, which includes food, silent auction, merchandise and entertainment.
“We have five headliners this year and 16 impersonators entered into the competition. We also have a legends show with other impersonators, including Rod Steward, Elton John, Ricky Nelson and Tom Jones. We have a bigger team to work on the show this year so we can grow the event into the future,” said Sherry.
He said that members of his company have been attending the event for years and like what they have seen.
Sherry said the Portage event, especially the fundraising aspect of the festival, is being used by his company as a model in other cities across the nation.