UFO Festival, Galacticon & SciFi Film Fest kick off
Do you believe in the “Roswell Incident” of 1947? Do you hold onto the possibility of life in the universe that didn’t originate on Earth? If you do believe or if you don’t, Roswell embraces the possibility of UFOs during the annual UFO Festival, July 5 to 7, and everybody is welcome to participate.
New this year is a virtual trip back in time to 1947 at Spaceport Roswell, 220 N. Main St., presented by the Roswell Daily Record and created by Roebuck Entertainment, which organizes the Christmas Railway each year.
Locals and tourists have the chance to learn more about UFO phenomena when the International UFO Museum and Research Center opens its doors at 10 a.m. each day of the festival, presenting speakers from around the globe.
While Roswell’s alleged UFO made the headlines of the Roswell Daily Record in 1947, it was just the beginning of strange UFO sightings. There is not one country in the world that has not reported unidentified flying objects, according to the Mutual UFO Network, a nonprofit organization collecting the reports.
However, the “Roswell Incident” was the first reported from the military itself. Intelligence officer Maj. J.A. Marcel, of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field, sent the press release — which was pulled the very next day. The truth was allegedly buried when the military stated it was a weather balloon that had crashed in the desert outside of Roswell.
Today, Roswell might be just a sleepy little southwestern town if it hadn’t been for nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, who found out about Marcel. The hunt for the truth started and many scientists, hobby researchers and the public followed the news over the decades.
Will the truth come out this year? Most eyewitnesses are dead, as is Friedman, who died earlier this year. Friedman’s fellow researchers and scientists will continue the search.
But, as Friedman used to say, what is a festival without fun? The city and many volunteers have events and attractions planned for the entire family.
Coinciding with the UFO Festival is Galacticon, which kicks off on Friday at noon and continues Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. in the newly remodeled Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St., with plenty of opportunities to cosplay — and join workshops to update one’s steampunk and cosplay costumes.
Cosplay, a blend of the words “costume” and “play,” stepped out of its “nerd corner” with the popularity of the TV series “Big Bang Theory.” Creative fans of superhero or comic creations make their own costumes. Steampunk is a relatively new genre within the cosplay community. It is easiest explained as combining the Victorian era’s industrial revolution steam equipment with its romantic lifestyle, corsets and suits — if the style and mechanics had continued into our century.
Members of the local steampunk club will have panels and workshops during Galacticon, with the highlight the popular Steampunk Ball, which takes place for the first time on Friday at 9 p.m. in the new Roswell Convention & Civic Center. Music will be provided by the alternative rock band Marquis of Vaudeville. Everybody holding a Galacticon ticket is invited to attend, in costume or not.
Inside Galacticon, the famous TARDIS from the TV show “Dr. Who” is available for a photo op; there will be gaming, virtual reality activities, workshops, film panels and vendors, including comic book vendors and artists. This year’s Galacticon celebrities are featured cosplay artist Jessi Arntz, steampunk authority Thomas Willeford, author and “Star Trek” expert and UFO researcher E.J. Wilson, renowned local historian and author John LeMay and YouTube sensation, Mr. Creepy Pasta.
Another event, the SciFi Film Fest, moves closer to the UFO Festival downtown. This year’s SciFi Film Fest takes place at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, which is just north of the convention center. A highlight will be showings of the winning films on Sunday at the Roswell Mall, at Allen Theatres’ Galaxy 8. After the showings, the awards ceremony will take place at 2:45 p.m. There is much more entertainment planned.
Part of North Main Street will be a pedestrian zone with its businesses joining in the festivities. There will be street artists, games, food vendors and of course, live music at the Chaves County Courthouse main stage and at Reischman Park — everything is within walking distance. A wine and beer garden is set up at Fourth and Main streets.
MainStreet Roswell, the city of Roswell and volunteers and businesses have surprises planned throughout the festival. Popular are the alien costume contests — for alien critters on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the humanoids show off their colors and styles at Pearson Auditorium on the New Mexico Military Institute grounds on North Main Street at 3 p.m.
The Roswell Public Library, 301 N. Pennsylvania Ave., joins in this year with an author talk by John Mark Tucker, whose 11th book, “Mesa Park, Welcome to Roswell,” includes real memories of his childhood and that of his friends, which frames a fictitious mystery story with a supernatural being at its center. For more information, visit johnmarktucker.com.
The Vision Magazine UFO edition with the schedule and details about the events, which includes a city map, is available for free at several locations, including the International UFO Museum and Research Center, the information tent on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn, the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, several motels and online at rdrnews.com if you click on “special publications.”
Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.