what happens at a ufo festival

hitting the streets of america's most alien-obsessed town for its annual ufo extravaganza

Photo by Stephanie Gonot

"There will always be haters, but they don't bother me," Mark Briscoe tells me coolly. We're sitting in his office at Rosweel, New Mexico's UFO Museum, one of the world's largest resarch centers for UFO phenomena. The site of a supposed 1947 "spaceship crash," Roswell is now a haven for alien academics and enthusiasts alike. Attracting people from all over the world every summer for its yearly UFO Festival, an event I'm here to attend. 

Soft-spoken and friendly in a small-town, Southern kind of way, Briscoe’s jokey but level-headed approach to running a museum devoted to, well, aliens catches me off guard at first. The truth is, I’m not quite sure where I stand yet as a “believer,” but I’ve binge- watched enough episodes of Ancient Aliens to entertain the possibility of a past in which ETs built pyramids.

“I want people to come away with a question mark in their heads if they’re nonbelievers,” says Briscoe of the festival. “We get where we are in this world by questioning things.” Hopefully here in Roswell I get somewhere, just preferably not via spacecraft. 

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