Elvis Day at Northern California’s Sonoma County Fair

August 11, 2014
Sonoma County Fair at Night

Sunset at the Sonoma County Fair

In the past year alone, we’ve gone from Elvis Week in Memphis all the way across the country to the Las Vegas Elvis Festival. Now, you’ll never guess where the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll turned up next.

The Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, California where, on August 2nd, 2014, it was Elvis Day!

From L to R: Contestants in the 2014 Sonoma County Fair Elvis Impersonation Singing Contest With

Contestants in the 2014 Sonoma County Fair Elvis Impersonation Singing Contest With Miss Sonoma County: Skylaer Palacios (From L to R: Andrew Mendlin, Tony Freitas, David May, King Jonny Sanchez, Rob Ely, Bradley ‘Memphis’ Cotton, Douglas Bryan, Photo: Miss Sonoma County Pageant)

Fair Logo

Elvis Day Special Events 

Elvis sandwich

Elvis’s favorite peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwiches

*Elvis Impersonation Singing Contest —–
*Farewell performances by Elvis Tribute Artist Michael (Bartle) & TLC —–
*Parade featuring Elvis Look-Alikes —–
*Elvis Trivia Contest ——
*A replica of Elvis’s Harley motorcycle —–
*A Thank you very much Elvis Contest —–
*Elvis Scream Contest for fans of all ages ——
*Raffle (Prize: Lighted Graceland at Christmas)
*Free Peanut Butter-Banana-Bacon Sandwiches!! 


A Replica of Elvis’s Harley Motorcycle

Elvis Harley replica, Sonoma County Fair,(Dansetrack, August 2, 2014 )

A replica of Elvis’s Harley motorcycle, Sonoma County Fair,(Dansetrack, August 2, 2014 )


Michael Bartle of Michael & TLC

Elvis Tribute Artist, Michael Bartle (Photo: Sonoma County Fair, August 2014)

Elvis Tribute Artist, Michael Bartle (Photo: Sonoma County Fair, August 2014)

Long-time favorite at the Sonoma County Fair, Michael Bartle, performed three afternoon shows on the Park Stage.  Although this event marked his farewell as an Elvis Tribute Artist, Michael is now moving on to other projects in the music business.

More about Michael Bartle can be found HERE.



The Elvis Impersonation Singing Contest

This event happens every other year at the Sonoma County Fair.  Before we get to the contest, however, we have to mention….the band!!

Buzzy Martin and the Buzztones

This is the fantastic group that opened the show and accompanied the contestants throughout the evening.

Buzzy Martin and the Buzztones rehearsing for Elvis Day – From L to R: Mark V. Chole, Billy Carmassi, Buzzy Martin and Johnny Z (Photo courtesy of Buzzy Martin, August 1, 2014)

With leader Buzzy Martin on guitar, Johnny Z on lead guitar, Mark V. Chole on bass, and Billy Carmassi on drums, the enthusiastic crowd cheered from beginning to end. (More about Buzzy Martin, including a promo for his upcoming film, is included below.)

 About the Contest

2012 Champion King Jonny Sanchez (Photo: Sonoma County Fairgrounds)

The performers were judged on singing ability, stage presence, costume, and audience response with $1,500 and a trophy awarded for 1st prize, $500 for 2nd prize, and $250 for 3rd prize.  The panel of judges included Tom Pappanduros (live sound engineer), Skylaer Palacios (Miss Sonoma County 2014), Tony Geraldi (Airport Express), and Nate Reebly (band conductor).

Each contestant performed one song.  Up first, was Andrew Mendlin with an impressive rendition of I Was the One.  This was followed by two of those songs that never fail to thrill the crowd in an Elvis tribute contest: Polk Salad Annie performed by Douglas Bryan and Burning Love sang by Tony Freitas.  Up next was defending champion King Jonny Sanchez with That’s Alright Mama, and wow, what an entertainer!  And…that….hair!!

Then came David May (All Shook Up), who inspired countless double takes from the audience because of a certain resemblance to Elvis.  (Just check out the photo above where he’s standing 3rd from the left.)  The sixth contestant was Bradley “Memphis” Cotton who, with Suspicious Minds, reminded us that paying tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll requires not only the ability to sing, but also the stamina to do all of those aerobic, unmistakably Elvis-like moves!! The final contestant of the evening was Rob Ely with a spot-on, crowd-pleasing performance of Hound Dog.

 And the Winners are…

Actually, the overall winners of the night were those of us who were fortunate to be in the audience.  As for the actual contest, the judges clearly had their work cut out for them.  Here was the final breakdown.

1st Place: Rob Ely
2nd Place: Douglas Bryan 
3rd Place: Bradley “Memphis” Cotton


Winners in the 2014 Elvis Impersonation Singing Contest, Sonoma County Fair (L to R: Douglas Bryan – 2nd Place, Rob Ely – 1st Place, Bradley ‘Memphis’ Cotton – 3rd Place, Photo by Dansetrack, August 3, 2014)

The show concluded with all of the performers joining together for final song Heartbreak Hotel.

We could not have asked for a better evening!

Elvis Day Sonoma County Fair

Performers greeting the fans at the 2014 Sonoma County Fair Elvis Impersonation Singing Contest (Photo by DanseTrack, August 2, 2014)

Johnny Z

Buzzy Martin and the Buzztones with Rob Ely as Elvis (L to R: Billy Carmassi, Mark V. Chole, Rob Ely, Johnny Z and Buzzy Martin (Photo courtesy of Buzzy Martin, August 2, 2014)

More About the Sonoma County Fair

With all of the wonderful exhibits, contests, entertainment, food and activities for all ages at the Sonoma County Fair, it is definitely an event not to be missed.  For more information about the fair and other upcoming events at the fairgrounds, see:

Buzzy Martin 



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