Whether it’s for the annual Tupelo Elvis Festival or the town’s many outdoor adventures, you can’t help falling in love with Tupelo
Words by Paige Townley
Tupelo may be known for many things—easily accessible in its northern Mississippi location, nature, shopping, and dining to name a few—but perhaps it’s most well known as the birthplace of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Every year, the town celebrates its famous hometown son with the Tupelo Elvis Festival.
The Tupelo Elvis Festival is a week-long celebration of Elvis’ impact on pop culture and features a variety of events all about Elvis and his life. This year, the festival is scheduled for June 8 through 12. “It’s always a really fun week with so many activities you don’t want to miss,” says Jennie Bradford Curlee, Tupelo CVB’s Public Relations/International Sales Director. “There is truly something for everyone scheduled that week.”
The schedule for the week is certainly varied, typically including live musical concerts, competitions by Elvis tribute artists, living history demonstrations, a 5K race, and even a Gospel brunch. And while many of those scheduled events take place in downtown Tupelo, the entire town truly gets in on the tribute to Elvis. In fact, many of the local eateries feature themed dishes that week as well, so anyone looking to eat like the King can check out local establishments for some of his favorites. Blue Suede Grill by Café 212 offers a signature Elvis-inspired sandwich with bananas, peanut butter, and honey. D’Cracked Egg’s D’King takes those sandwich ingredients Elvis loved (peanut butter, bananas, and honey) and serves them up on a waffle. His favorite flavor combination is featured all around Tupelo in many other ways, from the Banana Boat Dessert by Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen to the gourmet popsicle by PoPsy and even in cupcake form by HOLLYPOPS Bakery.
While a week’s worth of scheduled events and a culinary experience fit for the King are certainly enough reasons to schedule a vacation or weekend getaway to Tupelo, the options in this Mississippi town continue. Outdoor opportunities and activities abound in Tupelo, many thanks to its location as the headquarters of the Natchez Trace Parkway. One of the top visited national parks in the country, the Parkway leads straight to Tupelo, and it offers plenty of trails for hiking, cycling, and exploring nature and Native American history. For the Tupelo Elvis Festival, even nature activities are included on the agenda. The Tupelo Elvis Driving Tour can be enjoyed instead as a self-guided bike tour, which is a prime opportunity to not only get out and see all Tupelo has to offer but also continue with the Elvis theme and check out important spots in his past. The tour includes stops at 14 different spots in Tupelo that played a role in his life, from where he went to school and a restaurant where he loved to eat to Tupelo Hardware Company, where he got his first guitar.
Between the Tupelo Elvis Festival, culinary hotspots, and the Natchez Trace Parkway—not to mention the town’s three distinct shopping districts that include everything from major chain department stores to unique locally-owned boutiques—Tupelo offers everything for a fabulous weekend getaway or a week-long vacation. So break out the blue suede shoes and plan your trip to the city fit for the King.