New Bedford's '50s Night on July 21 promises to honor the spirit of its founder, Joe Jesus, with one of his favorite entertainers: Elvis Presley.

Donny Edwards, said to be the best Elvis performer in Las Vegas, is all booked up, so the committee organizing the event is looking locally to find and hire an Elvis impersonator who will shake things up from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In years past, Joe himself would drop into one of the downtown stores and emerge in a flamboyant shiny jumpsuit, complete with high collar, iconic blue suede shoes and a pompadour, greased-back "ducktail" wig.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

The '50s Night organizers are looking for someone who'll take photos with the folks, sing, shake it up and have a fun time with everyone.

If the story is true, one night in the late 1950s, Lil Thompson's Steakhouse in Tennessee held an Elvis Presley impersonator contest. The King himself heard about the event, turned up with his entourage and sat quietly at the back. No one recognized him, so he decided to enter the contest incognito. He thought he was going to bring down the house.

Thompson was worried that everyone would go bonkers when they realized who the contestant really was, but nothing of the sort took place. Elvis sang "Love Me Tender," the audience applauded politely – and he was voted as third runner-up!

If you are the right Elvis performer for '50s Night, email me at

The event will also include food trucks, entertainment, bands, and dancers in '50s lookalike costumes, and dancing in the street. Sorry, by authority of the licensing company, there will be no Elvis marriages in downtown New Bedford.

The event returns after a two-year hiatus, thanks to a generous donation by a local resident who wishes to remain anonymous, but hopes the evening will bring everyone a wholesome, free evening of good times and memories.

New Bedford's '50s Night Over the Years

Joe Jesus' '50s Night was a longtime staple of New Bedford's summer schedule with 29 straight years until road construction held it off in 2018. It came back in 2019 following Joe's passing, but it missed 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It made a triumphant return in 2022 and is set to become an annual tradition once again. Take a look at '50s Night over the years.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420