Tupelo to Seek German Ties Over Elvis Army Link

Elvis Presley in Germany (Wikipedia)

TUPELO -- Mayor Jason Shelton will travel to Germany to forge relations and boost new possibilities for tourism driven by Elvis Presley.

Shelton hopes to develop a sister-city relationship with Bad Nauheim, a city in Germany with its own ties to the most well-known native son of Tupelo.

During his stint in the U.S. Army, Presley lived in Bad Nauheim from 1958 to 1960. He lived off-base, for a time renting a three-story home where he stayed with family and an extended entourage.

Bad Nauheim hosts its own annual commemoration of the King.

The European Elvis Festival occurs each year in August to mark the anniversary of Presley's death.

Shelton's trip will coincide with this year's festival in August.

In addition to sister city status, Shelton wants to explore ways to increase joint tourism between Tupelo and the rock 'n' roll star's one-time international home.

"Elvis Presley connects Tupelo to the whole world," Shelton said, touting the opportunities for cultural and educational exchange opportunities.

City officials were not immediately aware of any other sister-city relationships involving the city of Tupelo.

Shelton is the only member of city government making the trek to Germany. He won't be joined by either Convention & Visitors Bureau director Neal McCoy or Debbie Brangenberg, Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association executive director and Elvis Fest guru.

The Tupelo City Council voted Tuesday night to approve the mayor's international travel plans. No general fund money will be used to fund Shelton's European trip. Costs will be covered by the Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is funded through a sales tax on restaurants and hotels.

While in Germany, Shelton will meet with Wolfgang Streiborger, a local liaison in Germany for Tupelo's visitors bureau. Shelton plans to meet with municipal and tourism officials in Bad Nauheim.

It was in Germany that Presley met the then-Priscilla Beaulieu, whom Presley would marry several years later in 1967.

A marker honoring Presley was erected in Bad Nauheim in 1995.

The record cover for Presley's 1959 song "A Big Hunk o' Love" features a photograph of Presley in the city.

caleb.bedillion@journalinc.com Twitter: @CalebBedillion ___

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