When you first arrive in Roswell, it looks like any small, military town. You drive down a main road filled with familiar restaurants and store chains. Then, you start noticing something unusual about those so-called familiar places. Like, say, that they've put aliens on their signs.
AND ON ALL OF THEIR WINDOWS.
Or that they're running their business out of a UFO.
And, just in case you're totally oblivious to what's up in this town, the street lamps are designed to scare the living crap out of you at night. Maybe even in the day.
The crown jewel of Roswell's UFO culture and history is, unsurprisingly, the UFO Museum and Research Center.
A new UFO Museum is being built. Most of the exhibits in the current one consist of articles and "reports" laminated and/or pasted onto posterboard. FYI - Hot Molnija fashion is available here.
Naturally, there are still visuals, which are essential for those bringing kids (who tend not to be so interested in reading declassified government documents). And we all know alien autopsy recreations are fun for the whole family:
This model shows what the UFO crash site looked like. If anyone had enough info and detail about the crash to build this, it doesn't seem like there'd be much question about whether this is all real. So, I'm going to go ahead and say this obviously came from a military/government whistle blower.
Handy pictures also provide quick and easy references to help you learn about aliens. Spelling, less so.
I actually had a good time reading about all the eye witness accounts and evidence for and against a UFO cover-up. But let's stop kidding ourselves, you guys. We all know that the real reason I went to Roswell was for gems like this:
Oh, man. I love themed towns. I love over-the-top merchandising. And I really, really love campy stuff. Roswell fulfills all of those criteria, and there are more products with aliens on them than you can shake a stick at, products that probably shouldn't have aliens on them. This is allegedly Roswell's first alien gift store:
This place points out that a 60-year-old UFO, naturally, should be in an antiques store:
This store operates on the idea that there are only three kinds of souvenirs you come to the Southwest for, so why should you have to go from store to store to get them?
Finally, this store attempts no clever marketing or gimmicks. They know exactly what you're here to shop for. Yeah, that's right. Alien stuff.
Seriously, how I didn't spend all my money on crazy souvenirs in this town is inexplicable. I mean, can you ever have enough inflatable aliens? There's also a lot of pressure from locals to get you to stock up on stuff too because when you don't help boost Roswell's economy, aliens get sad. And nobody wants that.
Next time: pictures from the UFO Festival itself, including the alien pet costume contest!