It was Adam Fitzpatrick’s lucky charm that finally broke him down after being crowned the top professional at the Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival on Sunday.
Sitting in the front row was his girlfriend Sandi.
“I was fine until I saw her bawling her eyes out after my name was called winner. I was singing my song with the band after they announced it and I kind of fell apart for some of it,” said Fitzpatrick, who performed The Wonder Of You for his finale as the pro category winner. “It is the song that put me in the Top 15 in Memphis last year, it is one of Sandi and mine’s songs that I think of her when I sing it, it is my parents’ song and the name of my latest CD.”
Fitzpatrick was in the zone singing Can’t Stop Loving You and How Great Thou Art in Sunday’s finals. Judges left only a small margin separating Fitzpatrick from the second-placed pro Ben Klein, who had previously won the division in 2005 and 2008.
“One point,” said Fitzpatrick, still reeling from how close it was and how much talent there was at the festival. “I was confident because I knew I did my absolute best, but it is always shocking when you hear your name, especially against Ben Klein who won two times before and placed second at the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis before. He is a very respected and big name in the business.”
Fitzpatrick, who tours under the Elvis Evolution production, will hit the road to compete in North Carolina next week. He already has gigs set up and will compete in the Images of The King festival in Memphis in early August. His win in Penticton earns him a berth to the semifinals of the biggest Elvis tribute artist contest, Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis from Aug. 14 to 17.
Festival organizer Terry Michels said they saw some of the best crowds the event has ever had. He believes part of that was the draw of Fitzpatrick.
“You couldn’t have written it any better,” he said. “If we could have asked for a script that would have been it. He will represent us so well down there.”
Michels said after being down in attendance last year, mostly due to the bad weather that plagued the outdoor portion of the festival, this year they made it up. The headliner show of Chris Connor was within 200 seats of a sellout and the finals were also close to selling out. Sunday’s gospel event also had large numbers show up.
“We already sold 200 tickets to next year’s show,” said Michels. “It’s growing and unbelievable. Most of these festival’s last 10 to 14 years maybe, but I think because of the younger crowd that I saw this year, we will go on for a long time. One competitor told us this is a first-class event. He didn’t make it to the finals and asked us right away if it was too early for him to enter next year.”
Dressed in oversized, shiny Elvis glasses Jamey Pye and Jo Foster said they had been coming from Edmonton to attend the festival ever since it started. Pye said it is good, clean fun and the festival takes them back in time.
“When you hear the songs you can close your eyes and it just takes you back to those times. It’s just like you never left.”