Roswell UFO Festival Will Be Best Ever
By JAY MILLER
SANTA FE -- If ever you have thought of going to the Roswell UFO Festival, this is the year to do it. You won't believe the schedule of events for the 60th anniversary celebration.
I should say schedules of events. The City of Roswell and the UFO Museum both will have fully-packed schedules of events from Thursday, July 5 -- Sunday, July 8. And nearly all of them will be on Roswell's main street.
An often-heard complaint at previous UFO festivals was that there wasn't enough to do. No one can make that criticism this year. There is full-time action for everyone, whether you want lectures on UFO conspiracies or to participate in family fun.
It just won't ever get any better. For a look at the two schedules, go to www.roswellufofestival.com and www.roswellufomuseum.com.
I'm a longtime fan of Roswell UFO festivals. My wife and I attended the first one in 1995, when the UFO Museum began its buildup toward the big 50th anniversary of the 1947 Roswell crash.
In 1996-1998, we brought groups of 25-30 people from Santa Fe with parts and costumes to assemble for parade floats. We won the parade those three years, along with $1,000 prizes, which we enjoyed spending before we left town. Part of the prize was always donated back to the festival committee as a nest egg for the following year.
But the 1998 festival didn't amount to much. The 50th anniversary was over and the national and international visitors began to lose interest. Locals never showed as much interest in the event as UFO enthusiasts from out of town.
In 1996, I stopped at a table in a Roswell restaurant to talk with some prominent local businessmen and politicos. One of them asked what I was doing in town and I told him a group of us were there for the UFO Festival. His answer was a disinterested "I guess we've heard of that."
For the past eight years, the UFO Festival has been experimenting with different formats, sponsors and locations. Roswell may not have hit on the perfect formula yet, but this year's 60th anniversary extravaganza promises to live up to its billing as the best UFO Festival ever.
The festival will have an exciting aerial component this year with a Spectacular Airshow and rides in hot air balloons, helicopters and airplanes. There will be numerous kiddie events and team sports for all the family.
I'm not going to get too specific in mentioning about program events here because all events haven't been finalized. If you have computer access, please check the Web sites above.
One hint as to how big this celebration will be is the City of Roswell's $150,000 budget for its events. And it may even go over that amount.
Roswell is the undisputed capital of the UFO world. And it is somewhat by accident. Few sightings, abductions or close encounters of the third kind have ever been reported in the area.
But one day in early July 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field issued a news release announcing it had captured a flying saucer on a nearby ranch. No government has ever announced such a thing, before or since.
The following day a clarification was issued that it was a weather balloon. But suspicions lingered and almost 50 years later, the Air Force issued another clarification saying it was a spy balloon.
That's probably correct, but the fact it took almost 50 years and pressure from New Mexico U.S. Reps. Joe Skeen and Steve Schiff to pry a third explanation from our government gave fuel to a host of conspiracy theories that will never end.
The state of New Mexico has even gotten into the act by indicating the UFO crash site on its official aeronautical chart.
Roswell now is looking at a UFO-themed amusement park with a $100 million indoor roller coaster that would take passengers on a simulated alien abduction.
JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail) email@example.com