After living in New Mexico most of my life, and never doing more than pass through Roswell, I decided 2018 was the year to finally see what the alien encounter thing was all about. The UFO Festival has been celebrated annually in this small city for 23 years. Aliens, UFOs, and science fiction go hand-in-hand, so it makes sense that a sci-fi convention, Roswell Galacticon, was added to the mix in 2011.
“The City of Roswell invites UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike to join in the celebration of one of the most debated incidents in history.” In case you haven’t heard, the referenced incident is the crash landing of an alien vessel in 1947. Read the “living history” of the July 1947 UFO crash told 50 years later by witnesses to the event now known as the Roswell Incident.
During the three-day festival, visits to the UFO Museum and Research Center are essential for a pictorial history of the Roswell Incident, to hear talks about such subjects as alien abductions, and to listen to famous ufologists discuss their work. Festival events include Pet and Human Costume Contests and an evening light parade.
Alien autopsies were part of the fun, as well as creating tinfoil head-gear (either to enhance communications or block alien transmissions, I’m not sure which) and visiting local shops and street vendors. Alien-eye sunglasses made it into my shopping bag because, you know, the grandkids might like them…
Way Way Off-Broadway Theatre Company did a great re-enactment of the H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds radio program. Next door, the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium offered laser light shows throughout the festival.
Roswell Galacticon is “an intergalactic comic convention with over one hundred cosmic vendors” held in the Roswell Mall. The convention featured a sci-fi film festival, gaming tournaments (including live-action role-playing games), a zombie make-up tutorial/workshop, cosplay and Steampunk workshops with Jessie Arntz and Jim Trent, and the annual Steampunk Ball.
In the dealer’s room I met several local authors who inspired me to continue with my own writing. Local artist Logan Pack amazed me with his stylization of sci-fi/fantasy characters and superheroes, and again I had to buy a few posters for the pesky grandkids.
Likewise, I ordered a hand-knitted pair of cute porgs (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) from a husband-and-wife team starting up Hooked4UCreations, a handcraft business. The porgs arrived within a few days of returning home, along with a surprise—I had won a drawing for a knitted flying saucer.
If you’re looking for a fun UFO-themed event suitable for kids and adults, come on down to southeastern New Mexico and visit Roswell next summer (around the 4th of July holiday).
Next time, I might add a visit to the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales and a stop at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo.
Did you visit any museums or sci-fi/fantasy conventions this summer?