UFO Festival comes to McMinnville

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It sounds like something that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully would investigate. In 1950, a local McMinnville couple, Evelyn and Paul Trent, spotted a UFO. As the story goes, the object increased speed and took off, and Paul snapped photos as quickly as his ’50s-era camera could capture them. He got two before the object disappeared. After the attention of the national press was caught, McMinnville was dubbed “Saucerville” and the local newspaper of the time reprinted thousands of their front pages, across which blazed Trent’s UFO picture. One of those copies is on display at McMenamins’ Hotel Oregon.

Now, over 50 years later, McMinnville makes use of its Saucerville heritage with a UFO Festival. Organizers call the event the second largest UFO festival in the country, and the city becomes an alien destination, if not for real little green men, at least for the costumed variety.

The event is highlighted with a UFO parade put on by the McMinnville Downtown Association. McMenamins hosts a number of speakers for the event; this year they’ll host Robert Salas, Stan Gordon, and Paola Harris.

Salas has been a researcher and speaker on UFOs at nuclear weapons bases since 1994. He’ll be speaking on the 1967 UFO encounters at Malmstrom Air Force Base where two launch facilities found that nuclear missiles in their control became non-operational simultaneously.

Gordon is an on-scene investigator who has experienced thousands of unexplained encounters.

Harris is a photojournalist and investigative reporter who has followed the UFO field since 1979. Harris will talk about an incident that occurred in 1945 in San Antonio, New Mexico and is detailed in the book “Born the Edge of Ground Zero, Living in the Shadow of Area 51.”

The speakers form just the tip of the meteor in this weekend dedicated to all things alien. There will be an alien pet costume parade, various musical performances, and an alien costume ball. New this year is an independent film festival that will be judged on May 13-14 during matinees and then screened on the evening of May 14. Entries must be UFO-, alien-, or science fiction-themed. For more information on entries, visit macmovietime.com.

For the full schedule of events, visit the UFO Festival’s website at ufofest.com. Tickets are available online until May 12. They range from $10 per individual event or frugal aliens can purchase a three-event combo ticket for $25.

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