AUGUSTA — Don’t be cruel, but efforts to gather more Elvis impersonators than have ever been together in one spot before, at the Augusta Civic Center, fell several hundred hound dogs short of a world record.

While there weren’t nearly enough people dressed as Elvis Presley to break the Guiness World Record of 895 impersonators, the Augusta Civic Center was still resplendent in the sight of numerous dark-haired, sideburned Elvises on Tuesday, from various eras of the king’s rock ‘n’ roll reign. And his impersonators came from all over Maine, and included kids, grandmothers, professional impersonators with multiple Elvis outfits in their closets, and amateurs who threw together makeshift costumes, at least one with electrical tape shaped into Elvis’ trademark black locks.

“Without Elvis there would be no rock ‘n’ roll,” said Robert Lewis of Bath as he arrived in an immaculate bright red and gold-accented full body suit, with a cape, and his black hair standing tall.

Elvis impersonators gather Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center during an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most Evises gathered in one place. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Lewis has been performing as Elvis for 28 years, for his business King and Company Legends, touring in the western states for 10 years before moving to Maine, where he performs for corporate events, fundraisers and events at senior centers  that he hopes “keep the memories of the old folks going.”

He said people love Elvis — and impersonators of Elvis — so much in part due to him performing so many different types of music, from country to rockabilly, in his act.

A sign above the civic center’s entrance stated “#ElvisIsInTheBuilding.”


If he was, it was his second time there, having  taken the stage at the Augusta Civic Center, to screaming fans, May 24, 1977, in his only Maine appearance.

This time there were a lot more Elvises on hand than in 1977, but not nearly enough to break the current world record of 895 Elvis impersonators that was set at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina in 2014.

Margaret Noel, director of the Civic Center, estimated, based upon the number of seats occupied on the auditorium, around 300 Elvises were in the building.

“We’re here to honor the legacy and experience of his fans. You’re his fans; give yourselves a round of applause,” Noel told the Elvises and their uncostumed fans. “You didn’t think that just because we didn’t hit the number, you wouldn’t have to sing, did you? We’re not leaving here without a good rendition of ‘Hound Dog,’ OK.”

Elvis impersonators sing “Hound Dog” Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center during an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for Elvises gathered in one place. While falling far short of the world record, the roughly 300 Elvises were unofficially the largest Elvis gathering ever in Maine. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Participants in the attempt joined together in the auditorium to sing Presley’s hit song “Hound Dog” together. Lyrics to the song were displayed on large video screens.

Friends and educators Sheryl O’Donoghue of Mount Vernon  and Ruth Nicola of the Waterville area met in the parking lot and donned their Elvis gear, putting on sport coats, shiny black wigs, and sunglasses they took out of O’Donoghue’s yellow Mustang, and checking their looks in a neighboring SUV’s windows before heading inside to join their fellow Elvises.


“I’m  a huge fan of Elvis and she’s such a good friend she agreed to come do this with me,” O’Donoghue explained, before adding that she learned to love Elvis from her parents.

After the counting was done, professional Elvis impersonator Jessi Mallory of Milford performed the same set list that Elvis himself performed when he took the stage at 10:15 p.m. on that 1977 night,  kicking off with “See See Rider Blues” and planning to end with “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

And she did it in a $1,100 hand-embroidered replica of Elvis’ infamous Sundial suit, complete with bright, shiny stones and mirrors. Elvis wore the  glimmering head-to-toe Sundial suit on his final tour, which included his Augusta show, and in his 1977 CBS special “Elvis in Concert.”

Elvis impersonator Jessi Mallory performs Tuesday during an attempt to break the Guinness World Records for singing Elvises at the Augusta Civic Center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Mallory, 42, had the outfit specially made for the Civic Center event, and said her fans raised the funds to buy it from an Australian company.

“Some of us here dress like this all the time,” Mallory said from the stage Tuesday. “Obviously, we did not break the record. We tried. However, for Maine, this is the biggest gathering of Elvises ever. This is pretty impressive. Let’s have a good time tonight, let’s party!”

Linda Schaffer, 75, and her great-granddaughter Chloe Schaffer, 9, of Orono, both dressed as Elvis for the occasion. Linda wore a wig and jean jacket and Chloe donned a wig, full white, red-accented Elvis suit they found online, and gold sunglasses.


“We love Elvis, we follow Jessi just about everywhere she goes,” Linda Schaffer said.

The pair boogied by their seats while waiting for the rest of the Elvises to make their way into the building, as music played on loudspeakers.

Chloe said she likes Elvis, and enjoys Mallory’s shows. She said her favorite part is “the moves” displayed on stage.

Elvis impersonator Mike Lounsbury shows his Elvis belt and autographed scarf Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center during an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most Elvises gathered in one location. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Don Rowe and his wife, Judy, came from Minot, Don in a full-body white-and-red Elvis suit, driving in for the event in Judy’s customized black 1953 Chevy five-window pickup.

“His music,” Don Rowe said when asked why he thinks so many people seem to enjoy impersonating Elvis. “You could understand his music. And he was just cool.”

The event was part of a year-long 50th anniversary celebration of the city-owned Civic Center.

Some Elvis fans camped outside, in the rain, at the Augusta Civic Center for two nights, some waiting up to 54 hours to secure their place in lines that wrapped around the building, to buy tickets for the 1977 show. Admission to Tuesday’s show was free, and included free snacks.

Wednesday is the anniversary of Presley’s death, Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of 42.

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