It may be the 13th annual Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival, but it’s the first time local man Christopher Blaine has slipped into a leather jumpsuit in front a crowd.
He made his debut as an Elvis tribute artists on Saturday in his recently adopted hometown.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said after stepping off the stage at Okanagan Lake Park, where he performed four numbers, including Suspicious Minds as his opener.
“It’s a great brotherhood. I met all the guys for the first time, and it’s so wonderful to be a part of it.”
Blaine, 50, works from home and moved to Penticton from the Lower Mainland two years ago in advance of his retirement from his job in the wholesale footwear business.
Although he’s a lifelong fan of Elvis, the closest Blaine ever got to performing was in karaoke contests. But after his late aunt began pushing him to test his mettle as a tribute artist, he found the last bit of motivation he needed upon arriving in Penticton.
“It’s always been in me, but I guess timing is everything, because I moved here and I thought, ‘When in Rome, go for it,’” he said. “I think maybe if I still lived in Vancouver I wouldn’t have done it.”
Blaine admitted to nervousness before taking the stage in front of hundreds of fans, plus his girlfriend and friends, but reminded himself that even the King got tense.
“Elvis always had butterflies every time he went on, and that adrenaline is that extra rush you get,” he said. “I can’t explain it, but it’s not a bad thing.”
Blaine’s performance was good enough to earn him a spot in the non-professional portion of the tribute artist finals at 2 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre at 2 p.m. The day begins with a Gospel showcase at 9 a.m. at Okanagan Lake Park.