Elvis show wows City Park crowd

PARKERSBURG – Three area Elvis tribute artists wowed a crowd at City Park during the second annual Elvis Fest on Saturday.

Parkersburg resident Jim Forshey, one of the organizers of the event, said he wanted to bring an event similar to ones he has seen elsewhere to Parkersburg.

“I wanted to bring Elvis to this area,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of other places around the country with Elvis festivals and I wanted to do that around here because some people can’t travel long distances to these festivals.”

Forshey said he is following his dad in being an Elvis tribute artist.

“My dad started doing this years ago in the late 1970s and 1980s and I grew up listening to Elvis’ music,” he said. “I became hooked on his music and I had a lot of people who tried to encourage me and for a long time I didn’t want to do it.”

Forshey said he does his Elvis show about two times a month and last year he did 36 shows. He said the number of shows he performs varies from year to year.

Steve Sams, of Parkersburg, said he has been doing Elvis shows for many years.

“I’ve done hundreds of shows over 18 years in four states,” he said. “I’ve been to Blackwater Falls Fourth of July, Mountaineer Days in Davis, W.Va., for 12 years running and many other places.”

Sams said he grew up listening to Elvis’ music.

“As a child I heard him on my mother’s stereo,” he said. “I found I love to sing. I do other voices as well but I done Elvis professionally for 18 years – it’s the one that really brings the attention.”

Frank Byers, of Little Hocking, was the third Elvis performer featured in Saturday’s show at City Park. He said the audience of about 500 seemed to be happy with the show, which was held in the horseshoe shelter at the park.

“This audience was dynamic,” he said. “They are always appreciative. By staying through the whole program it was a tribute to all of us.”

Byers said he performs as Elvis because of his love for the music,.

“It’s always a pleasure to do Elvis for folks,” he said. “That’s why we do it. We don’t get anything out of it and see the look in their eyes.”

Byers said he noticed several in the audience sing along with the songs.

Virgil and Connie Hoover, of Parkersburg, said they enjoyed the City Park show Saturday.

“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s great.”

“It’s a good time,” he agreed.

Christina McCloy, of Parkersburg, said she enjoyed the show. When asked if she liked one performer in particular, she said they were all good performers and she thought they did a good job.

“It’s great,” said Mary Snider, of Parkersburg. “This was a lot of fun. It was a surprise for my mother, she didn’t know it was going on and she enjoyed it. She was so excited.

“Back in day I always listened to Elvis on 45s.”

“I love it, it was really good,” said Teresa Ball, of Parkersburg.