Published: Saturday, September 11, 2010
By Marilyn Forbes, FOR THE DAILY COURIER
Race and walk will be new addition to Kecksburg festival
It's been 45 years since the famous Kecksburg UFO incident occurred in the small Westmoreland County village in Mt. Pleasant Township.
And next weekend, the small community will celebrate that anniversary with its annual Old Fashioned Days & UFO Festival.
The festival will be held Sept. 18 and 19 at the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
Sponsored by the fire department, the annual event was created to take the place of the regular fireman's fair that was held each summer.
"We wanted to go back to the way things were done in the old-fashioned days," said event chairman Ron Struble. "We had some good items and the timing was right."
A highlight of the festival will be the annual parade, set for 2 p.m. Sept. 18.
Since the festival is commemorating the UFO sighting in Kecksburg in December 1965, this year's parade theme is — of course — the UFO.
The best UFO float will be awarded a trophy.
Working with the old-fashioned day theme, the weekend also will feature a bed race, a hay bale toss and a bucket brigade contest.
"Other fire departments come for the bucket brigade contest," Struble said. This is a team event that requires members to fill buckets of water and pass them down a line, throwing them on "houses." The water then drains into a gutter and filters into a 50-gallon bucket. The first team to fill the bucket wins.
"It's the way that the firemen used to put out house fires," Struble said.
Struble instituted the bed race after witnessing a similar event in California.
"You have to have a metal bed with fixed front wheels and two swivel wheels in the back," Struble said. Teams of five man the beds, with four pushing and one riding.
Following the afternoon fun, Saturday evening will close with a "burn-out" contest.
Sept. 19 will feature a car cruise from noon to 5 p.m. and the first ever UFO Hot Dog Eating Contest that will be held at 1 p.m.
The afternoon will welcome five UFO experts from across Westmoreland County who will man displays and demonstrations. UFO expert and researcher Stan Gordon of Greensburg will lead an illustrated lecture starting at 2 p.m. that will highlight the Kecksburg UFO incident, local Bigfoot sightings, and other local unexplained incidents.
The on-site UFO store will also be open.
"We've expanded on the UFO theme," Struble said. "That is what really draws the people. "It's going to be a fun time," Struble said. "It's going to be fun and people always find the UFO stuff really interesting."
Marilyn Forbes can be reached at 724-626-3530 or via e-mail.
See the UFO Casebook case file, The Kecksburg Crash.