HOT ELVIS REVIVAL: Dave Greene, the blond Icelandic Elvis, went all out for his idol this year -- importing world-class Elvis tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick as a star performer at the Manitoba Elvis Festival in Gimli Aug. 8-10.
The handsome 29-year-old from Penticton, B.C., who looks like the King at his peak and sings identically, is the feature act Aug. 9 at the Gimli Recreational Centre. Fitzpatrick just finished winning major contests in the U.S. and U.K., qualifying him for the Ultimate Elvis contest in Memphis just days after his Gimli show.
"I started this all on a dare years ago," Fitzpatrick confessed by phone at midnight from the Collingwood Elvis show in Ontario, opened by Priscilla Presley. "My buddy said, 'I'll enter if you will.'"
So Fitzpatrick got a costume together and hit the stage, surprised everybody, including himself, and has never looked back.
He's joined at the Gimli fest by Elvii (the plural of Elvis) Greene, Dalin James, Corney Rempel, Adam T. Elvis and his young son, Jackson, Miss Elvis Lee (the female Elvis), John Baunsit and Braden Elvis Black. Tickets are $25 at the door. Plus you can catch an Elvis gospel show for Elvis fans Sunday, Aug. 10. Doors open at noon, and the show starts at 2 p.m. in the Gimli Rec Centre, says Greene. Tickets are $10.
Got Elvis aspirations yourself? Greene and co-organizer Joanna Clemenson are also staging an Elvis karaoke night at the Harbour Stage on Aug. 8 with three or four Elvii hosting.
FINALLY OPEN: Sartaj Singh couldn't be happier. His new Swiss Chalet and Harvey's burger restaurant is finally open for business at Corydon Avenue and Stafford Street. Sartaj and his wife, Jyoti, and staff of 40 threw a sneak-peek party for friends, family and business people in the neighbourhood on July 21. That got Sartaj very excited.
"I started inviting people passing by on the street, asking them to come in and try our food," he says. People hit their cellphones and several hundred people later they were back to the by-invitation-only gathering.
To fit in with the neighbourhood, the new restaurant features an elongated temperature-regulated atrium facing Stafford. People hang around to catch the setting sun in supreme comfort.
Psst! The controversial drive-thru is also up and running, with healthy food from both menus -- salads and stir-fry items, as well as burgers and chicken. "Everything is made fresh; we never make it ahead and keep it warm in a holding area."
SINGLES SUMMER RESCUE: It can be tough being a middle-aged single in the summer. Only one half of a divorced couple gets the cabin, if there is one, and kids are away for weeks on end. Ray Antymis, owner of Adventure for Successful Singles, which offers 50 to 60 sports and arts activities a month all summer, says he can help.
"Not everybody goes to the lake -- a lot of single urbanites who want to stay in town have families to see and enjoy activities like slo-pitch baseball, golfing, cycling, park-walking and dances," says the owner of the largest singles club in Canada.
"We have about 2,500 members in the summer," says Antymis, The age demo? Late 30s to 60s. Intro classes for newbies run for a month of Tuesdays starting Aug. 5 (more info at 204-775-3484).
Only one-half of a broken-up couple is allowed to join. The next dance is at Big Daddy's Social Emporium and patio with DJ Bill on Aug. 9; non-members are free to go "on spec."
YVONNE'S ROMANTIC TOUCH: People cruising Corydon Avenue can't believe what they're seeing in competitive "patio-ville." Kristina's restaurant, owned by Yvonne Nakoulas, is now sporting a sparkling glass chandelier hanging from the outdoor lattice roof. Above the deck with a romantic Greek mural on the side, the crazy chandelier sparkles in the sun by day and by electric power at night.
"People love it!" says astonished namesake Kristina Nakoulas, a great chef who manages the back for her mom. "When she first said to me in her Greek accent she wanted a 'san-delier' for the patio, I wasn't sure it'd go over."
Momma installed it anyway. Now people are fighting to get seats on the most romantic patio in Winnipeg.
"We've even had an engagement party out there," says Kristina. "I learned something: NEVER doubt your mom."
FOREIGN PRESENCE: Buses full of Folklorama enthusiasts are rolling into Winnipeg from south and east of Manitoba as the multicultural festival starts Aug. 3. The festival's travel department is expecting busloads from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin. Within Canada, buses are rolling in from Ontario and points in northern Manitoba.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.