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A Pilgrimage To Roswell For Those Who Believe In E.T. & UFOs

A terrestrial visitor takes in an exhibit of an extraterrestrial visitors at the Roswell UFO Museum.
Mónica Ortiz Uribe
A terrestrial visitor takes in an exhibit of an extraterrestrial visitors at the Roswell UFO Museum.
UFO FESTIVAL
UFO FESTIVAL

Thousands of visitors flock to Roswell, NM each year in July to celebrate all things extraterrestrial.

The annual Roswell UFO Festival harkens back to a mysterious crash in 1947 that happened just outside Roswell. At first, the U.S. military said it was a flying saucer. Officials later retracted that statement and said it had been a weather balloon. More than a half-century later, people are still fascinated with discovering the truth.

The Roswell UFO Museum is the mecca for these truth seekers, especially during the four day festival in July. About 2,000 visitors descend on the museum every day from all over the world.

One of them is Evert Daman from the Netherlands.

“Roswell has been kind of a dream for me since I was 10,” he said. “I saw the X files on television and aliens always drew my attention...I think there is something out there.”

The wildfires raging across New Mexico may hurt attendance at the festival. Alien related tourism brings in about $14 million in revenue to Roswell, a city of about 50,000 spread on a desert plain.

Julie Schuster is the director at the UFO museum. Her father, who was one of the founders, was also the military officer who issued the press releases about the 1947 crash.

“So I firmly believe that it did happen. It was not of this earth,” she said. “Will we ever know the truth, I don't know.”

This year the UFO festival will be held over the Fourth of July weekend. It comes just before the end of NASA's space shuttle program, which is scheduled to make its final launch July 8th.

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