Organizers Reflect on UFO Festival’s Impact
by Alison Penn July 9, 2018 (rdrnews.com)
• The 23rd annual UFO Festival (July 6-8) in Roswell, NM was a rousing success. City Director of Public Affairs Juanita Jennings reports that the Roswell Visitors Center saw 3,341 visitors over the weekend, compared with 895 visitors that came to the center during festival in 2017. And that includes only those who signed the sign-in sheet. Jim Hill, Director of the International UFO Museum and Research Center, says this year’s museum attendance broke all records with 9,168 visitors.
• The Roswell UFO festival offered events and activities for all ages, including the ‘Down to Earth Brewfest’, the GalactiCon Sci-Fi & Film Festival and costume contest, and the Steampunk Ball. “It was our opportunity to showcase the amount of traffic our city receives due to this festival and what we do for the state of New Mexico,” Jennings said. “The feeling and energy in the downtown area was phenomenal.”
• Kathy Lay, Executive Director for MainStreet Roswell, said the rock painting at the craft station and the music and entertainment were highly praised events in the festival. Lay has received “wonderful reports” from vendors and attendees alike. Repeat attendees have said this was the best year they have attended. Lay has noticed a trend where visitors stayed in Roswell for 4 to 5 nights, instead of one to two nights as in the past.
• This year drew crowds early and people wanted to stay up until the end. 78 vendors occupied 88 spaces ranging from $50 to $250 per booth. One vendor reported quadrupling their sales this year. “So we feel like… from all of the response we’re getting, it was a big success,” said Lay. In fact, visitors have requested the festival be extended to five days for more time to experience it all.
• Guest speaker, alien abductee Travis Walton, was well-received, along with the other speakers in the many facilities around the city (including Stanton Friedman who announced his retirement at the festival. See ExoNews article here).
• Another goal of the festival was in keeping the city clean and beautiful through the work of the sanitation department. The city asked vendors to bring their own electric generators. Jennings said the city will be working to providing more power and electricity for next year’s festival.
• “I think it was just an exceedingly well-run event and I can’t imagine the city of Roswell not having benefited greatly from this festival,” Hill said.
• [Editor’s Note] All across the board, the popularity of events and conferences promoting information and disclosure of UFOs, and humanity’s ongoing relationship with extraterrestrial beings, is noticeably increasing. More and more people are waking up to the truth and thereby raising our collective consciousness on this planet.
As the dust settles from the 23rd annual UFO Festival, organizers and city partners are reflecting on its impact over the weekend. Now that the festival is over, organizers will be reviewing various data and surveys to determine turnout for the festival.
City Director of Public Affairs Juanita Jennings said the festival was a phenomenal and well put-together event for all ages. With activities for children, adults, sci-fi fans, adventurists and more, Jennings said she felt the festival was welcoming and inviting for visitors.
Including other events — like the first annual Down to Earth Brewfest at Third Street Station and GalactiCon Sci-Fi & Film Festival at the Roswell Mall — Jennings said, “the feeling and energy in the downtown area was phenomenal.”
Jennings said the significant digital exposure from the “selfie-stations” and other social media experiences, and the film crews, were beneficial for promoting the city.
One area for growth that she and her team touched on in their department recap meeting was they would like to see more community participation in the light parade in the future. Last year, Jennings said the parade was “amazing” and drew a huge crowd. This year some visitors said the parade was shorter than expected and Jennings said the delivery, “fell a little bit short this year compared to last year.” However, she said she thinks with more community involvement and planning it can improve next year.
Near the visitor center, the state’s tourism department had its NM True bus and Jennings said their presence extended visitors an opportunity to experience tourism around the state. Jennings added their presence was important, considering their tour from last week when Roswell received its NM True report card, in strengthening the partnership between the city and the state.
“It was our opportunity to showcase the amount of traffic our city receives due to this festival and what we do for the state of New Mexico,” Jennings said.
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