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Committees look ahead to July festivals and events

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Planning continues for UFO Festival, Galacticon, film festival

UFO Festival, Galacticon and SciFi Film Fest committee members “met” by phone during a conference call Thursday instead of at the International UFO Museum and Research Center, which had closed after the governor called for a shut-down of all non-essential public places to prevent spreading of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Leading the meeting was Juliana Halvorson, who asked the city of Roswell’s public affairs director, Juanita Jennings, what the city was planning in regard to Fourth of July events. The holiday falls this year on the weekend of the UFO Festival.

“We haven’t sent out the press release yet,” Jennings said. “We were going to, but with the coronavirus, we have not. We are going to hold any releases until we get through this time because we don’t want to get anything out there and then have it potentially change.”

MainStreet Roswell executive director Kathy Lay asked Jennings if there are any plans or concerns in regard to possible cancellation of any Fourth of July or UFO Festival-related events. Jennings said, “No. At this point, our directive is to move forward with planning. We are moving as is, as it is so far out. Information does change daily.”

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Lay said MainStreet Roswell is comfortable moving forward as well. She said that the city and MainStreet are on the same page.

One of the points of discussion during the meeting was having entertainment at Reischman Park. The park is located in the heart of downtown Roswell and had been used in the past for entertainment during the UFO Festival.

With the vendors and the main stage moving to the parking lot at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, near DeBremond Stadium, Halvorson and Lay said the park remains as a center for entertainment to attract visitors there. “That’s our plan at this point,” Lay said.

Other details were discussed, including that emails are planned to be sent out to previous vendors. Vendors can now apply online at ufofestivalroswell.com.

Halvorson said that if vendors cancel by May 31, they receive a full refund. “After May we give them the refund, except the $100 deposit, and use it for next year,” she said.

Jennings reported that the city pulled some advertisements for local events, while other advertisements were postponed until June.

In regard to the UFO Festival, Jennings said, “Everything else is moving forward as planned. I would like to make sure that everybody understands that this coronavirus will impact the visitation numbers.”

Elaine Mayfield represents Galacticon, the SciFi Film Fest, the alien pet and human costume contest. She said that the human costume contest will again be at the New Mexico Military Institute’s Pearson Auditorium. Galacticon will be taking place inside of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center.

Part of the venue will be shared, such as the entry where the city will have a smaller version of a visitor’s center. A special room is reserved as a first aid station.

Mayfield said, “We’re focusing on the children’s area this year. We are hoping for 50 vendors. We have only eight so far, it’s been kind of slow. I am a little concerned, but we’ll have a good show in a lot of areas. We have a Wonder Woman cosplayer coming in, we’ve got a gamer and YouTuber. Sponsor packets are out and we have 29 volunteers on our list. We have a really gung-ho volunteer coordinator this year.”

Lay said that a couple of volunteers are needed to play aliens, with suits already sent in. “It will be very recognizable and we haven’t seen any people wearing it at the festival, so that person will stand out.”

After Lay reported that a sponsor check came in the mail, she said, “During these times where the businesses are really going to be hit hard, they need the UFO Festival to come to our community to help recover from the current crisis. Sponsorship will mean now more than ever.”

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.

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