ElvisFest will celebrate Avondale Estates’ connection to The KingTony Longval, right, dressed as Elvis, poses with Avondale Estates City Manager Clai Brown, left.
The Towne Cinema in Avondale Estates has seen a rebirth under the ownership of Tony Longval, who has delved deeper into the theater’s history.
According to local legend, Elvis Presley – The King – performed there on one occasion and rehearsed there on another.
There are two reported instances of The King being in the building, neither of which has been confirmed to a certainty. The first time was reportedly in 1956 when it was called the Avon Theatre. According to the Towne Cinema, he also played the Paramount and Fox Theatre while he was on his way to sign his contract with Col. Tom Parker.
Years later, in 1971 he was said to have rehearsed for a show at Towne Cinema while touring. He also reportedly visited the United Methodist Children’s Home and invited the kids to watch him rehearse.
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Fisher Paty, with the Avondale Estates Business Association, isn’t trying to separate fact from fiction or truth from myth. The Elvis legend has taken on a life of its own, and that’s worth celebrating.
“We’r going with it,” he said.
Paty and the Business Association are hosting the city’s first ElvisFest on Aug. 19 to mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death. Attendees are encouraged to dress like Elvis and at 7:30 p.m. there will be a free tribute show featuring Elvis and the Blue Suedes.
There will be a dunking booth, a mechanical bull and food and drinks for sale. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. at Towne Cinema.
Paty and the Avondale Business Association are stepping up their game, sponsoring festivals that take advantage of the city’s historic roots. The city is named after William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, which inspired the recent “Shakespeare in Avondale Estates” event. There’s also an event in the works that will celebrate Waffle House, which was founded in Avondale.
“There are so many unique attributes of Avondale that aren’t being talked about right now,” Paty said.
The conversation is just getting started.