by Helen Soteriou March 30, 2019 (dailymail.co.uk)
• On May 16-19, the 20th annual McMenamins UFO Festival will take place in McMinnville in Yamhill County, Oregon, featuring marching bands, garish floats, and a wine-tasting billed as ‘Close Encounters of the 3rd Vine’. The highlight of the festival is the costume parade, a colorful spectacle of tinfoil outfits and spaceships.
• The festival attracts believers in extraterrestrial life, alien abductions, out-of-body experiences, and close encounters, as well as non-believers who come to enjoy the spectacle. As Jeff Knapp, executive director of Visit McMinnville, says, “It’s the one weekend when locals feel it’s OK to let their freak flag fly.”
• The UFO festival began after a local farmer, Paul Trent, photographed an alleged UFO hovering around his farm outside McMinnville. Now known as the ‘The Trent Sightings’, his two photographs, taken on May 11, 1950, have passed into UFO legend. (see photo below)
• This year’s speakers at the 600-seat auditorium in the community center include Bob Lazar who worked on the ‘reverse-engineering’ of crashed/captured alien spacecraft at Area 51, and Commander David Fravor, a retired Top Gun Navy pilot, who in 2004 encountered an oblong-shaped “tic tac” craft hovering above the Pacific Ocean.
• Where else can you join an alien parade, dance in the streets, attend a lecture from an ex-intelligence officer and end the day with sipping pinot noir with ET?
All the ingredients of a small-town carnival are in place: marching bands, garish floats, a costume parade, candy floss. Flamboyance and fanfares. But here, in the deepest corner of Oregon on the north-west coast of the United States, it might help if you believe in aliens.
This is the home of UFO Fest, held in the small town of McMinnville in Yamhill County.
Each May, McMenamins Hotel in Oregon stages its celebration of the extra-terrestrial: the world of abductions, out-of-body experiences and close encounters.
Many of the 20,000 who attend the three-day festival — and you can still get tickets — are firm believers in alien life, often referred to as ufologists; others, the doubters and the sceptical, come to enjoy the spectacle. In McMinnville’s Main Street, locals and out-of-towners, believers and non-believers, mingle. No one falls out.
As Jeff Knapp, executive director of Visit McMinnville, says: ‘It’s the one weekend when locals feel it’s OK to let their freak flag fly.’
This year will see the 20th anniversary of the festival, which began after a local farmer, Paul Trent, photographed an alleged UFO hovering around his farm outside McMinnville. Now known as the ‘The Trent Sightings’, his two photographs, taken on May 11, 1950, have passed into UFO legend.
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