Viva Bendigo! All shook up and ready to shake, rattle and roll

Bendigo is all shook up for the Elvis, Direct from Graceland exhibition.

Bendigo Tourism is expecting Elvis diehards as well as curious fans from all over Australia and has collated a raft of offerings to entertain people while they’re in town.

The program of events includes food and drink experiences, tours, cinema, fashion and, of course, music – all wrapped in plenty of Elvis puns and lyrical wordplay.

So, slip on your blue suede shoes, because that’s all right mama, you’re the devil in disguise, and always on my mind.

After an inspiring day at the gallery, jump on the Shake, Rattle and Roll tram at night to sip cocktails and enjoy Bendigo’s spectacular architecture. There’s a Paint, Rattle and Roll night to paint The King, plus Blue Suede Choux pastries at Bluebird Patisserie.

Blue Suede Choux at Bluebird Patisserie. Supplied.

And Bendigo burger joint Hustler is serving up ‘The King’s’ favourite sandwich – peanut butter, banana and bacon. If you can’t help falling in love with all that, at Hustler, you can even get married ‘Vegas-style’. Every Sunday, the restaurant hosts a ceremony complemented by burgers and champagne. Sadly, no quickie Vegas-style weddings here, as legal wedding bookings must be made 30 days prior to the ceremony.

Hunk O’Love Burger – Percy and Percy. Supplied.

The City of Greater Bendigo has found a way to connect Elvis with its classic Victorian architecture by decking out its glass conservatory inspired by Graceland’s Jungle Room. Inside, you’ll find an amazing array of tropical plants intermingled with iconic props and imaginative sensory items that can all be enjoyed to an Elvis soundtrack.

The raft of attractions is simply too long to list here, but also include trivia nights, performances, wine and movie nights, and high teas. Not a wine-lover? Cornella Brewery has issued a special release ‘Aloha’ beer adapted from the local favourite, Bendigo Pacific Ale. 

Shake Rattle and Roll Cocktail Tram. Supplied.

The surrounding towns and wineries have also joined in. Be sure to check out their events, too. There are a range of accommodation packages available in town and surrounds or at one of the many wonderful winery stays.

Rock’n’roll pizza Sundays at St Anne’s Winery. Supplied.

Bendigo Tourism marketing manager Glenn Harvey said while Bendigo was continually building on its reputation for hosting blockbuster exhibitions, Elvis, Direct from Graceland was a national event.

“It’s not travelling. It’s not going anywhere else in the world, and that’s pretty special – not just for Bendigo, but also for Victoria and Australia,” he said.

“This exhibition has gone to another level and we’re trying to match that with what the city is doing.

“Elvis is so broadly appealing. It’s going to bring a whole range of different audiences, not just for the art. It’s going to bring fans and young people as well, so we have matched that with a range of attractions.”

Mr Harvey said any visitors to Bendigo for the exhibition should check the events program before they come and during their stay.

“There’s more than 30 experiences happening over the next four months and that will continue as more and more get on board,” he said.

Wine and film nights. Supplied.

And if you just want the selfie experience, Bendigo can provide that as well. 

As well as the sequinned entrance to the gallery on View Street, just down the road there’s a 2.1m high Viva Bendigo sign in the piazza that lights up at 7pm. And, as you may have guessed, it has Elvis music playing from 10am to 10pm daily.

Viva Bendigo runs until 17 July.  Visit Viva Bendigo to see the full program and book tickets.

Written by Jan Fisher

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