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Get your tin foil hats ready, Cedar City. The Utah UFO Festival is back.
Next weekend marks the second year of the festival celebrating extraterrestrials, aliens, flying saucers, abductions and the science behind it all. Attendees will head out to the desert landscape of Three Peaks Recreation Area on June 16-17 to share their own encounters and hear from experts on the subject.
The event first launched in 2016 following founder Nathan Arizona’s own alien encounters. Initially, Arizona and his brother/co-founder, Jospeh Colishaw, faced a significant amount of skepticism – not to mention a barrage of jokes. Many questioned whether there was really a need for another festival in Festival City.
But Arizona explained how this provides an alternative to some of Iron County’s traditional summer events.
“We can attract something different to Cedar City,” he said. “This is an opportunity to bring the counterculture and people in the bubble together to just have a good time. We’re trying to enhance our culture by bringing in something totally different.”
This year, organizers are more focused on creating an event accessible to everyone – regardless of if you are a skeptic or a believer. They have even embraced their fate that not everyone might take it seriously. In that same spirit, Los Angeles musician Ken Goldstein will be on hand this to perform some alien themed songs.
“We learned we have to listen to the public to survive,” Arizona said. “We wanted to find something overarching so everyone can find something to enjoy. We’re here to celebrate the pop culture and the science.”
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Arizona is optimistic that the UFO Fest has the potential to turn into something larger with each year. Last year, more than 350 people showed up. They’re expecting at least 500 this time. The brothers have also received national attention, including producers of the popular Netflix show “Chelsea Lately” and representatives from CNN .
This year’s speakers include Clifford Mahooty of the Zuni Pueblo Tribe in New Mexico, UFO researcher Christopher O’Brien and Joe Montaldo with the International Center for Abduction Research. Jim Allen, an Area 51 researcher, will also be presenting a screening of the film “Area 51 Whistleblower.” The film focuses on Bob Lazar, who claims to have worked on extraterrestrial technology near Area 51.
Organizers were determined to bring back their most popular event from last year. Attendees have the opportunity to share their own encounters or theories in a moderated open mic format.
“People really enjoyed this inclusive format because it’s not something you see at any of the big conferences,” Arizona explained.
For more information and to reserve tickets, visit utahufofest.org.
Follow reporter Bree Burkitt on Twitter, @BreeBurkitt. Call her at 435-218-2241.
If you go
2017 Utah UFO Festival
When: June 16-17, starting at noon
Where: Three Peaks Recreation Area
Cost: Free to all members of the intergalactic community, but tickets are required. Reserve a spot at TinyURL.com/UtahAliens. Free camping is also available and food trucks will also be on-site throughout the day.
More information: utahufofest.org