And believe me, we've seen some sights. Since I allegedly make a living off words, however, I figure I can recap some highlights here even without the pictures. Roswell was fun. Some parts were not what I expected and some were exactly what I expected. On the surface, when you first come into town, you get the feeling the whole town has UFO fever. Aliens are worked into every business's logo, and there's a UFO Research Museum, for goodness sake. But really? When you dig deeper, a lot of the locals aren't really into it. I think they live among it so much every day that the allure of the Roswell mythos/conspiracy just doesn't mean much. I think a lot of them have the same reaction to aliens that I have when people say that they hear it rains a lot in Seattle. My city's rainy reputation doesn't affect my daily life, and sometimes the constant stereotypes are annoying because there's just a lot more to the city. (FYI - it doesn't rain in Seattle all the time). Roswellian lives don't actually revolve around aliens either.
So, all in all, the UFO Festival was much smaller than I expected. The people who put it on and attended--the ones who did embrace the history--had lots of enthusiasm. The festival covered a wide range of events from academic lectures to family activities. There was a 5k, a costume contest, documentary screenings, music, and more. It's clear the festival is affected by a lack of resources and funding, which is sad, but like I said, it's run with a lot of energy. The people working it work hard, so kudos to them.
When my husband and I arrived, we naturally gravitated toward the cheesiest, wackiest things we could find: like the crazy gift shops and pet costume contest. That's just how we are. We were very disappointed to learn that the alien pictures around town were superficial and there were no restaurants or bars that were totally alien/UFO themed. Why? Because that kind of thing is only of interest to silly tourists like me. Residents wouldn't regularly consume margaritas out of alien shaped glasses the way I would have.
Later on in our trip, we actually starting running into the hardcore Roswell/Cover-Up believers--which was fascinating. I'm in the "Something probably happened - not sure what" camp, and my love for The X-Files is well-known. Nonetheless, I wasn't prepared for meeting people in real life who so passionately believe in ideas that are most definitely not held by many in the mainstream. It was shocking. Like when you're admiring pretty fireworks on the 4th of July and someone mentions the Revolutionary War. It's like, "Oh, right. There's a whole other side to this fanfare, isn't there?"
I'm going to try to stay objective and unbiased here by simply listing (without commentary) some of the things I was informed about this weekend by those who are Roswell believers:
1. The U.S. Government not only covers up UFO knowledge; it also puts military and economic pressure on other countries to do the same with their sightings. Only countries like Venezuela have the power to resist. Canada cracked.
2. There are 57 races of aliens who have visited/are on earth.
3. Jupiter is not a gas giant. It is a congregation spot for many alien races. We're told it's an inhospitable gas giant planet because...
4. ...much of what we are told is "science" is a lie to keep us complacent.
5. UFO/Alien stuff is covered up because the government is profiting off technology gleaned from extraterrestrials. The rapid advance of technology in the 20th century surpassed what humans could have done on their own. Like the iPad.
Okay, my bias slipped a little with Canada (you know I love you guys). But there you have it, some of the info I learned in Roswell, basically summed up as: Question everything because those in power may be keeping you in the dark.
Also, I learned that there are apparently three great things that go great together: