Up & Coming Weekly

April 09, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 4 of 32

4 UCW APRIL 10-16, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ EDITOR Stephanie Crider editor@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly. com ASSISTANT EDITOR Leslie Pyo leslie@upandcomingweekly.com SENIOR SPORTS EDITOR Earl Vaughan Jr. EarlUCWSports@gmail.com REPORTER Jeff Thompson news@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Long art@upandcomingweekly.com SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR Kimberly Herndon kim@upandcomingweekly.com MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister Brown linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/ SALES ADMINISTRATOR Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS D.G. Martin, Pitt Dickey, Margaret Dickson, Karl Merritt, John Hood, Jim Jones, Shanessa Fenner, Prudence Mainor ––––––––––– Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: (910) 484-6200 FAX: (910) 484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the pub- lisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2019 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. Elvis is back in the house — April 13 by BILL BOWMAN and JEFF THOMPSON PUBLISHER'S PEN As a young man enthusi- astic and well entrenched in my first real career after leaving the Army and going to work with Fasco Indus- tries, I (Bill Bowman) was oblivious to the fact that the King of Rock 'n' Roll was performing a concert in what is now the old Cumberland County Arena. at was in 1976. It would be another 12 years before I realized the significance of that musically historic visit. Elvis Presley was live and in person here in Fayetteville, North Carolina. By all accounts, his perfor- mance was grand. However, his visit here was pleasantly unusual and unique in sev- eral respects. e first concert was Aug. 3, 1976. It was a sold-out event. Presley was im- pressed that Fayetteville was the home of Fort Bragg, and he wanted to do some- thing special to honor the military while also thanking Fayetteville fans for their enthusiastic reception. He requested to do two ad- ditional shows on successive days. Presley's manager, Colo- nel Tom Parker, agreed. All three perfor- mances, Aug. 3-5, sold out, according to Paul Beard, who was the Arena operations manager at the time. What many fans did not realize was that all three performances were recorded. Graceland Records released a three-disk CD pack titled "Next Stop: Fayetteville." It was sold with a 44-page booklet of rare photos of Elvis onstage here in Fayetteville. You can find it on You Tube. In the video, you can feel the energy and hear the excitement of 6,000 screaming fans. News reports at the time said Elvis and his entire entourage rented the top floor of what once was the Ramada Inn hotel on Eastern Boulevard. Elvis' enthusiastic reception and three days of sold-out performances, complete with live recordings of his music, were such a success that Parker scheduled a return to Fayetteville for Presley, set for a year later on Aug. 25, 1977. Unfortunately, he never did return. Elvis died of a heart attack at his home in Grace- land Aug. 6, 1977, at the age of 42. Local fans were saddened, shocked and disappointed. Anticipating what was expected to be another stellar, sold-out concert, fans had purchased tickets for $12.50 and $15. e Arena offered refunds but also pro- vided the option to donate the ticket money to a local charity. Hundreds of ticket holders chose the latter. eir names were placed on a plaque honoring Elvis and put on perma- nent display in the hallway of the Arena, along with several photos of Elvis' past per- formances. ose photos and other memo- rabilia remained on the wall as a memorial to Elvis for many years — until 2008, when the Arena underwent a significant renovation. During this period, Beard, while serving as the facility manager under then-general manager Rick Reno, noticed something. During the interior renovation project, the Elvis photos and mementos had been re- moved from the wall and placed in a recep- tacle along with other construction debris. Fearing they would be mistakenly discarded as trash, the quick-thinking Beard, who is an Elvis fan, removed the framed photos and plaques and safely packed them away in a Tupperware crate. He stored them in his backyard shed. Beard knew the Elvis memorabilia represented one of the great- est performances ever staged in Fayetteville. ese treasures remained in Beard's shed for more than a decade — until Fayetteville Observer senior columnist Bill Kirby re- ceived several inquiries about what ever happened to the Elvis pictures. Beard, who is a Fayetteville resident and the general manager of the Florence, South Carolina, Civic Center, graciously dug them out and turned them over to the Crown Coliseum Complex. Elvis is now back in the house. Well, not quite. e Crown board of directors haven't yet figured out what to do with the newly recov- ered treasures. However, what we do know is there is much public interest in see- ing these mementos. So, to this end, Up & Coming Weekly asked the Coliseum board to loan us the pieces for one day — April 13. We will have them on display for public viewing at our office during the Fayetteville Fans First Look at the new Segra Stadium, where the Fayetteville Woodpeckers will host their first game April 18. Our of- fice is only about a 5-minute walk from the stadium. e Elvis Presley photo display will be in Gallery 208 at 208 Rowan St., Up & Coming Weekly's corporate offices. Hours are 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. e event is free and open to the public. Both Fayetteville Observer reporter Bill Kirby and former Arena manager Paul Beard will be on hand during the day to personally share their experiences and walk us down mem- ory lane. Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop will also be present with Elvis signs, posters, refreshments, free gift coupons and assorted souvenirs. A very special thanks to Kirby for his excellent Fayetteville Observer reporting and coverage of this story. And, to Beard for his insight, professionalism and quick action that salvaged a part of Fayetteville's musical history. And many thanks to my colleague, Up & Coming Weekly's senior reporter, and my friend, Jeff ompson, who assisted me with this article. And, of course, to our readers: ank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. ere's a treasure trove of photos and memorabilia honoring Elvis' visit to Fayetteville in 1976, one year before his death. Come see them April 13 at Gallery 208. BILL BOWMAN, Publisher, UP & COMING WEEKLY. COMMENTS? BILL@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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