Southern Style at Graceland
Photos Courtesy of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
For the first time ever, parts of Graceland will be open for dinner. The “Elegant Southern Style Weekend at Graceland” is a unique event that will celebrate the food, fashion, architecture, design and culture of the American South. And the host? Priscilla Presley.
“On all my worldwide travels one of the questions I will always get asked is the fascination of ‘Why did Elvis always return to Memphis after every movie, after his Las Vegas stay or touring?’” says Presley. She adds, “It was because it was where he felt most comfortable. He couldn’t get from L.A. or really any other place what he got from the South– the people, the food, favorite restaurants, the feeling of good ole Southern comfort and hospitality the unique styles, the Victorian homes, the people he grew up with, his long-time friends and of course, his Graceland.”
Ms. Presley says she hadn’t experienced that kind of comfort until she first met Elvis as a teenager. “Elvis was friendly and very open. He was curious about what was happening in the States as far as music was concerned and about the songs that I liked. I was quite shy so he did all the talking. He was very natural which made it comfortable for me to be somewhat relaxed. His grandma fixed dinner for me when Elvis brought me to the kitchen and doted on me the whole time, which I wasn’t used to.”
The three-day weekend to be held September 27-29 will feature well-known chefs, interior and fashion designers, and the speaker who inspired the movie “The Blind Side,” Leigh Anne Tuohy. Renowned chef Jim Norton, a regular guest on the Hallmark Channel, is among the panelists.
“It really is a goal of mine to inspire and motivate the younger generation to host dinner parties and entertain in their homes,” says Norton. “There is nothing like having a group of friends sitting around your dining table laughing, telling stories, and enjoying a meal you have prepared for them. And if you are not a ‘fancy cook’ that’s okay. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to host a dinner party.”
Presley says, “When I lived at Graceland I always set the table with beautiful place settings, flowers, candles and low lighting. Elvis never liked bright lights. We always dressed up for dinner ready to go where he fancied. Mostly though, the movie theater. I still incorporate that same tradition in my home with family and friends. I love creating a beautiful and warm atmosphere where my guests don’t want to leave. We’ve spent many late nights with conversations, like days in the past.”
Seminar topics over the Southern Style Weekend include Southern hospitality and entertaining, outdoor living: home and garden, Southern décor and architecture, home cooking, Southern style, and Southern Fashion. The weekend also features multiple dinners and parties, food and cocktail tastings, crafting workshops and The Style of Graceland Show, where Priscilla and Graceland’s Head of Archives, Angie Marchese, will provide rare insight into the design of the iconic home. VIP ticketholders will have a photo opportunity with Presley as well as an exclusive meal prepared by James Beard Award semi-finalist Kelly English. That will take place on the grounds of Graceland overlooking the pasture; Priscilla’s favorite spot and one never before opened to the public.
“The South definitely feels more like home and I’m very comfortable in the surroundings,” Presley says. “I have so many long-time friends there. Every time I’m in Memphis we get together and hang out at the Guest House at Graceland, the Peabody Hotel, their homes, the various favorite restaurants etc.”
Tickets for the weekend include a discounted rate offer at the Guest House at Graceland, which is filled with Elvis memorabilia and specialty suites designed with the help of Ms. Presley herself.
For a full lineup of events and ticket information, click here: https://www.graceland.com/elegant-southern-style-weekend