Published: 11:15 AM 6/23/2013
By LORI SOARD, FOR A-J MEDIA
Are UFOs real? In Roswell, N.M., it is a definite possibility. A possible UFO discovery in 1947 has become the heartbeat of the town and inspired the annual UFO Festival.
Each summer, Ufologists from all around the globe arrive in Roswell for the festival. Roswell is a mere three hours from Lubbock, so this is the perfect vacation for those not wanting to stray far from home. Although the official date for the festival is July 5-7, events start as early as Friday, June 28, so plan to stay the entire week to take it all in.
What to do in Roswell
Arrive the weekend of June 28 to attend the Roswell Filmfest and Cosmic-con held at the Roswell Mall. This is a family-friendly event with comic book artists, films shot in a “shootout,” and baseball superheroes night (be sure to dress up!).
While you wait for the UFO Festival, take the time to visit some local sites, such as the Roswell Museum and Art Center, where you’ll find collections of local art and pieces based on the American West.
Then, take a historical detour and make a stop at the POW/MIA Park to view a piece of the Berlin Wall and discuss the end of the Cold War and its impact on the world. Since you’re in Roswell, you will want to take your kids to the Roswell International UFO Museum & Research Center and check out recreations of the crash and info on alien autopsies.
Later in the week, celebrate Independence Day Roswell style with the Annual Mike Satterfield Memorial Firework Extravaganza. The fireworks — set to patriotic music — are launched electronically at the Cielo Grande Recreation Area at 1612 West College St. Entertainment starts at 5:30 p.m. and the fireworks at 9:15 p.m. The show lasts about 30 minutes.
Take a lawn chair or blankets for seating and avoid College Street, which will be closed before and during the event. There are also food and drink booths.
When the weekend rolls around, the festival swings into gear. On July 6, there will be costume contests for pets and people. Arrive an hour early to register. The pet contest is at 10 a.m. at the Roswell Civic Center north lawn. The human contest is at 3 p.m. indoors at the Civic Center.
Finish out the day with the Light Parade as night falls. It starts at the Civic Center’s south side and continues to Third Street. Floats are lighted.
Throughout the weekend, there are speakers, authors and other UFO experts on hand. View a complete list of lectures on the festival website. You’ll also find a variety of vendors and booths with some truly unique items.
What to eat
When it comes to dining at the festival, there are numerous options. In addition to booths with food, there are fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Arby’s and KFC. However, if you want a true Roswell experience, try one of the landmark restaurants the locals favor.
At Peppers Grill and Bar, you can chill on the patio with a Bahama Mama while you munch on a Diablo turkey sandwich. There is lots of great lunch fare at this restaurant with a fun atmosphere.
If you’re looking for a “downtown dive,” try Big D’s. The Philly cheesesteak is to die for. Craving a green chile cheeseburger? Visit Fat’s Burritos. A dinnertime must is Cattle Baron Steak and Seafood.