Last Saturday was a warm, beautiful day — perfect weather for enjoying the Chaffee Crossing Spring Festival and the Sixth Annual Elvis Haircut Day just outside Fort Smith, Arkansas. The what?? Yep, there’s actually a festival dedicated to celebrating the king AND the most famous haircut of the 1950s.
In March 1958, a young Elvis Presley came through Fort Chaffee as part of his induction into the US Army and before he went on to serve in Germany for 2 years. This is also where he received his first military haircut in Building 803 amid a LOT of public attention.
Today, Building 803 has been turned into the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, with photos and memorabilia from the Fort’s 70 year history, about the movies that have been shot on site, and about its most celebrated recruit.
And in honor of Elvis’ famous cut, 3 beauticians and 1 barber gave 75 free “GI buzz cuts” between 1 and 3pm on Saturday in the same location.
But that wasn’t all the festival had to offer – not by a long shot! Other events included an Elvis look-alike contest, a poodle skirt contest, a hula hoop contest, crafts and food vendors, and a chili cookoff.
In addition, there were $25 super scary helicopter rides over the Chaffee Crossing Historic District, a classic car display…
mechanical bull rides…
And a BBQ contest. Let me stop for a minute and gush a bit about the most incredible ribs I’ve ever tasted. I found out these people used ingredients such as fresh rosemary, fresh garlic, and olive oil. And the combination was incredible!
Not surprising, these ribs won first place at the event. Congratulations you all!
But my overall favorite memory of the day was watching 2 performances by tribute artist Brent Giddens, or as I quickly dubbed him, “Sexy Elvis.”
I’ve never been a huge fan of cheesy and gimmicky Elvis impersonators, but young Mr. Giddens has a beautiful voice, a somewhat shy but fun stage presence, and ALL of the famous moves down perfectly.
The large audience seemed very happy (especially the women!) with the concerts, the first being a set from the 1950s and the second from the 1970s – complete with sparkly blue jumpsuit, of course.
At one point I thought: what better day can there be than one spent with a good friend, warm weather, cold beer, and sexy Elvis? Sign me up for next year, too!