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Large crowds anticipated for annual UFO Festival


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The 23rd annual UFO Festival is set for July 6-8 here in Roswell, marking the 71st anniversary of the 1947 incident many believe involved a UFO crashing on a ranch outside Roswell.

With more than 38,000 visitors from 43 states and 16 countries, the Roswell UFO Festival is the largest in the world — and this year the crowds are predicted to be larger than ever.

There is an abundance of planning that goes into running and operating the annual festival. MainStreet Roswell, which is organizing the event, is focused on creating and furthering a strong local economy. A non-profit organization, the group operates using volunteer resources and “Roswell Ambassadors” to aid with clean-up and tear-down, booth support, and to keep the festival running smoothly.

Kathy Lay, Executive Director of MainStreet Roswell, said, “It’s a city-wide party, and with so many organizations involved it takes a lot of coordination and communication.”

The three-day festival will include the anticipated traditional events — along with new additions.

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The Runyan Ranch Petting Zoo will be a new feature, and for the first time this year the original site of the alleged UFO crash (located on the privately-owned Bogle ranch) will be open for tours. NASA will be sending an official spacesuit, located at the newly-opening Sippy and Opal’s Ice Cream Shop, and the Star Wars 501st Dewback Ridge Garrison — sanctioned and certified by Disney and Lucas Films — will be in attendance.

For an interactive option, festival-goers can shoot Alien Zombies with lasers or try their luck in the escape room. The National Museum of Space History in Alamogordo has made six “alien bodies” as a science project to help teach children about scientific investigation the hands-on learning experience of “alien autopsies.”

The luminous Xcel Energy UFO Electric Light Parade will take place this year on July 7 at 9 p.m., running south from 9th Street to 3rd Street. The parade will feature world-renowned physicist Stanton Friedman as grand marshal, honoring his instrumental impact in highlighting the Roswell Incident. Friedman is retiring this year, and July 6 will be dedicated in his honor as Stanton Friedman Day. This year’s parade theme is eUFOric space adventure, focusing on space exploration. Highlighting New Mexico and Roswell’s impact in developing modern-day space exploration, the parade expects to pay homage to New Mexico’s space history in a unique and fun way for people of all ages to enjoy.

In conjunction with the world famous UFO Festival, the Roswell Galacticon will also be hosting events July 5-7 at the mall. The 8th annual Galacticon will feature “Con” staples such as vendor booths, comic-book collectibles, artists, cosplay, gaming, workshops, a Sci-Fi Film Festival and panels, and a Steampunk Ball. International bestselling author S.E. Smith will be the guest of honor this year.

Downtown will be full of street vendors, food stands and local merchants. Alongside the numerous musical options at the festival, Stellar Coffee Co. will be holding a UFO Music Fest with live music and local bands.

With so many options and coinciding events, Lay says there are many things to prioritize. From vendors to parking to making sure the attendees don’t overheat she says, “It’s wonderful how all of these different groups are willing to come together volunteering their time to create an event so spectacular.”

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