WHITEHAVEN, Miss. — For the first time, Elvis Week is costing fans more money. They now have to pay to visit the king’s grave during the candlelight vigil.
“I’ve been here 7 times!” said Susan Elias from Massachusetts.
Five of those visits just for Elvis Week.
Elias said she couldn’t miss this year. It’s the 40th Anniversary of Elvis’ death.
She said this special time is tainted after hearing it’s now going to cost her money to pay her respects.
“It’s taking away the real meaning of Elvis,” Elias said.
During of the biggest years yet, Elvis Presley Enterprises is now charging fans to participate in the candlelight vigil on Tuesday.
That’s right, fans have to pay $28.75 for a property pass.
It allows you to go into the entertainment tent, shops, restaurants and allows you to pass Elvis’ grave.
“Elvis was always about taking care of poor people and having a good heart,” Elias said, “You come here to respect Elvis, and you’re paying $28? Everybody I talk to is complaining about that.”
A spokesperson for Elvis Presley enterprises said the change is to keep fans safe.
They updated security measures and “worked closely with local, state and federal security authorities to establish new procedures that have been widely used across the U.S.”
The change also comes a year after dozens stood outside the vigil protesting social inequality.
One fan WREG spoke with wonders if that’s what really sparked this new charge.
“Could have been from that, or maybe they’re paying for the new exhibit down there I don’t know,” he said.
Some fans already purchased a property pass. They said nothing will keep them away from their King.
Susan just hopes this will be the last year she has to pay.
“For people that don’t have money and want to come and respect Elvis, that’s just so sad,” she said.
Elvis Presley Enterprises said the property pass is included with some tours.
Also, they reminded fans that they will be able to stand on the street and watch the vigil at no cost.