2018 UFO Festival blasts off on Friday
July 06, 2018 07:16 PM
ROSWELL, N.M. – For the 71st year, earthlings from across the planet are packing the streets of a southeast New Mexico town that would typically be much barer any other time of the year.
Downtown Roswell was taken over by humans and dogs Friday for the start of the 2018 UFO Festival to enjoy all things extraterrestrial, by way of food, shopping and, of course, aliens.
"It's just nice to be here. It's something that we haven't seen and we live in the State of New Mexico," said Monica Salazar, visiting from Taos. "And we don't get out to see what our state has to offer."
The festival is offering a lot this year, from the first-ever public tours of the alleged 1947 UFO crash site to selfies in an authentic NASA spacesuit, a petting zoo and the opportunity to perform an alien autopsy.
The city says it's expecting 16,000 people to take part; nearly half of last year's turnout, but officials still expect a big economic impact to the tune of an estimated $5.3 million.
"It's a community event," said Peggy Sesky, a festival volunteer. "It takes a village to put this on and we've got a lot of people, a lot of volunteers working. They're having as much fun as everybody else is."
There's a little of everything for festivalgoers of all ages and home planets, including Georgia Litaker, who came from Tennessee and could be seen walking around in a green alien mask.
"I am so excited. We watched an 'Alien' movie last night and it was amazing," she said.
The festival also gives artists a chance to showcase their alien-themed work.
"It's an achievement. Actually, this is one of my dreams since I was a kid back in Venezuela," said Ruby Shepard, a tattoo artist at this year's event. "I used to dream about coming to Roswell to see (and) to experience this, and to be able to show my art—it's amazing."
The festival runs through 3 p.m. Sunday. Different activities are scheduled for each day, and most of them are free.
Updated: July 06, 2018 07:16 PM
Created: July 06, 2018 05:08 PM
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