Our UFO Festival, held at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, is now in its 15th year. It's an incredible event, said to be among the largest of its kind in the nation - in recent years, the city has hosted more than 5,000 people to watch the alien costume parade careen and cartwheel down 3rd Street. (DJ, we're looking at you. See left.)
But while all of that is fun, let's take a look at the other side of the festival - the more mysterious, mind-expanding side. It's this information every year that is the stuff of dreams and nightmares.
Our ticketed programs draw people from around the country - why? Because they believe that the UFO and alien phenomena are worthy of scientific, credible study. Sold-out crowds of 600+ people gather in the McMinnville Community Center to hear experts and eyewitnesses present on topics that in years past have included abduction, alien implants, government disclosure of UFO documentation, crop circles, animal mutilation, spacecraft and beyond.
Our past presenters have included a Stanford graduate (Linda Mouton Howe), a nuclear physicist (Stanton Friedman, also presenting this year), a surgical podiatrist (Dr. Roger Leir), the founding president of a Seattle biotech company (Peter Davenport, also a Stanford graduate and an annual festival presenter), a successful artist whose work hangs in the Guggenheim (Budd Hopkins) and many, many others - all of whom believe strongly in the possibility of life on other planets and who have interesting, credible things to say about it.
Here are testimonies from McMenamins employees/longtime festival attendees:
"The first realization I had that this UFO thing might not be the stuff of fools and quacks was that almost to a person, the expert speakers we've hosted at the UFO Fest over the years have been grounded, intelligent, personable people. And not the wacky, difficult personalities I anticipated in those first years of the event. And I found that many of the leading lights of the field (Ufology), didn't choose this path. They came to it because of an experience that they or someone close to them had. And think about it, would you give up a comfortable career to subject yourself to public ridicule and little-to-no income?"
"For me, the thing that made this festival more than just a parade and costumes was when a woman with her three children approached me at the event, saying she needed to speak with one of our presenters. She said, 'My son thinks he was abducted, and I don't know what to do about it.' The look of desperation on her face, as well as the haunted look on her young child's face, were enough to make me rethink my skepticism about aliens and abductions. We got her in touch with the speaker, and they spoke together for a long time. I still think about that little boy."
"There are enough people at UFO Fest who have their stories and who truly believe that something happened that I can only think that there's something else out there besides us. We can't be the only ones in the cosmos, it's just too big for that. And with the same people coming back over and over again, it reinforces that they have a strong belief in something - otherwise, why would they keep wanting to come back? And there have been a few people over the years that have traveled hundreds of miles just to get one-on-one time with our speakers and talk to them about their experiences. They're not yelling from the rooftops about it, but instead have had that scared look and quietness about them that seems like they're searching for answers."
We hope you join us at the 15th Annual UFO Festival - for the parade, the beer and the DJ-cartwheels as well as for the enlightenment and otherworldly perspective you might just gain at the presentations. Tickets to the speakers' programs are available at ufofest.com.