Elvis tribute to headline annual Broadway festival

Feb. 26, 2014 @ 04:58 AM

Keith Henderson will be celebrating his 36th year as an Elvis Presley tribute performer this April when he returns to Lee County for his second Broadway Our Way performance.

Henderson, with his “Illusions of the King” show, will headline a lineup of performers at the sixth annual Broadway festival, slated for April 19 along Main Street. Henderson has been performing since around the time he saw Elvis’s final North Carolina performance — April 1977 at the Greensboro Coliseum, just a few months before the King’s death that August — and he’s quick to point out that he’s not an impersonator.

“I always perform as myself,” said Henderson, a Jacksonville native now living near Chapel Hill. “I grew up wanting to sing with Elvis, and I studied him so much that his style became my style. I perform with the attitude that he’s in the audience, and I’d want him to be proud of what I’m doing.”

He said he’s excited about returning to Broadway, which provided him with a large, enthusiastic crowd and beautiful weather when he arrived in 2012.

“The people there were very warm and very receptive,” he said. “Applause means everything to a performer, and I got plenty of that. I’ve done a lot of festivals, and this one was right up there with any of them.”

If the past few years are any indication, this year’s Broadway Our Way Festival will attract between 2,500 and 3,000 people — numbers which can nearly triple the town’s everyday population. Broadway Mayor and festival organizer Donald Andrews said the idea behind the festival was to create a family-friendly event that promoted the town in a positive light. Six years later, that’s still the focus.

“With the exception of a few rides and food, everything is free,” Andrews said. “I think the

festival has been a success for us. The turnout every year, and all the smiles and good times, kind of reinforce the idea that we are doing something right.”

Joining Henderson in the all-day music lineup is Sanford’s own Huckleberry Blue, the Second Chance Band, Four Heart Harmony, Drymill Road Band and Ju’ Right Bluegrass. The day will end with a street dance.

In addition to the vendors that will line Main Street and the annual “best barbecue” contest, Broadway Our Way will have a few changes in 2014. The Classic Cars & Trucks show will become the Broadway Our Way Cruize-In near the North Carolina Veterans Memorial. A DJ will provide music in that area during the event.

The festival T-shirts also will have a new look this year, sporting a drawing of the Broadway “skyline.”

For more information on the Broadway Our Way Festival, visit www.broadwaync.com/festival or “like” the Town of Broadway on Facebook for regular updates leading up to the festivities.