Contrary to my initial belief, people do not flock from all over the world to attend the festival. Most people there are locals, and it has more to do with community entertainment than hardcore UFO examination (see my reflections for more on this). Nonetheless, there were two alien/UFO tracks going on. One was the fun, showy side. The other was the serious, scholarly side. Let's start with the first.
I think it goes without saying that the only real way to celebrate a UFO festival is by dressing your pets up like aliens and make them compete for cash prizes:
Our itinerary was carefully scheduled to make sure we made it to this event, and there was some panic it might be rained out. Happily, it wasn't.
This year's costume contest was special because it had the first cat ever to be entered. He actually took second place but doesn't look happy about it. In fact, I kind of get the feeling that if he could shoot lasers from his eyes (like his bio said), his owners would have been incinerated on the spot.
First place went to this little guy (girl?) who showed up in real style, possibly in the original space craft since it was allegedly made out of aluminum-esque material. Third place went to a guinea pig, whom I don't have pictures of.
After the pet contest came the human one, which I wasn't nearly as excited about. Others were, however, and it was one of the most well-attended events at the whole festival.
The human costume contest was split into four categories: most creative, scariest, best movie/TV character, and best overall. Each of those were split into adult and child categories. This was the overall child winner. I admit it's pretty impressive, but I'm not 100% sure it wasn't originally made for a Native American project at school.
This is the overall adult winner (they were a duo acting as one entry), and no picture can do credit to it. These were genius. The outer shells spun, making it impossible to see the people inside. It was all glittery and fast but was built in a way that let them still walk easily. I should have taken video.
This was the child winner for the best resemblance to a film/TV character. Only, I don't know who she's supposed to be. Her tagline was "Pow-Pow, Meow-Meow!" Whoever she was, she was adorable.
One of the most advertised events of the festival was the "Amazing UFO Parade." It was a little short on UFOs. Also short in general. But, both viewers and participants were excited, which is what counts. Among the non-UFO things were: belly dancers, Marvel superheroes, and KITT from Knight Rider. Why KITT? Well, why not. If ever there was a parade for a talking car (and it talked), then this is it.
The festival's big celebrity presence was Wes Studi from Avatar and Last of the Mohicans. Wes judged the costume contest and seems like a super nice guy. I never talked to him or anything, but you could always tell he was having fun the whole time and totally throwing himself into the role of the fest's special guest.
Ah, now these guys look like they're part of an alien-themed parade!
These guys? Hmm. Unclear. But Elmo isn't exactly earthly, so we might give him a pass.
Check it, yo. A UFO in the UFO Parade! And on a tractor, no less.
Very cool looking aliens who were out walking at the parade. Except...they weren't in the parade. Maybe Elmo stole their spot.
The Visitors Center (no pun intended) was near the parade and contained lots of exhibitors and vendors. Among them was local company Martian Salsa. I promised I'd pimp them out here because unlike many others, these folks didn't charge you to pose with their aliens. You didn't even have to buy their salsa. Other vendors were charging $1-5 to sit next to a cardboard cut-out. Not cool. So kudos to you, Martian Salsa, for your delicious product and great photo-ops.
Tomorrow: the Roswell Mall. Yes, that's right. It gets an entire post devoted to it.