By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Welcome aboard

Aliens — and quite a few humans — will be landing in McMinnville Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18, for the 14th annual UFO Festival.

Part serious scholarly event, part wild and wacky fun, the festival will feature ufology speakers, street vendors, a pet costume contest and the universally popular alien parade.

McMenamins Hotel Oregon and the McMinnville Downtown Association have been co-sponsoring the festival since 2000. It was started by McMenamins to commemorate the 1950 Trent sighting, in which two local people spotted a mysterious flying disc hovering over their farm. Their photos, published in the forerunner of the News-Register, drew worldwide attention and have never been disproved.

Keynote speakers at the scholarly portion of this year’s UFO Festival will be:

  • 7 p.m. Friday, Nick Pope, former administrator of and investigator for the British Ministry of Defence’s UFO Project.
  • 10 a.m. Saturday, Jim Sparks, author of “The Keepers: An Alien Message for the Human Race,” who claims to have been abducted by aliens; and Area 51 researcher George Knapp
  • 5 p.m. Saturday, journalist/researcher Linda Moulton Howe, who is familiar to listeners of the “Coast to Coast” overnight radio show.

Each program in the Hotal Oregon costs $10 in advance or $15 at the door; a two-day pass to the whole festival costs $25 in advance or $35 at the door.



The fun, and almost all free, part of the UFO Festival will kick off Friday with a “Landing Party” hosted by the MDA.

Vendor booths will be set up from 3 to 8 p.m. on Davis Street between Third and Fourth and at the US Bank Plaza at Third and Davis. An “alien drumming jam,” beer garden, art demonstrations and dancing are planned.

The Jake Blair Band will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. at the bank plaza.

A continuous showing of entries in the McMinnville UFO Festival Video Contest is planned from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at 3rd Street Pizza Co.’s Moonlight Theater.

A full-length movie, “Mystery Science Theater 3000, will play at 9 p.m. in the tent at Third and Evans streets.

A live radio broadcast, “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis,” will run from 7 p.m. to midnight in the hotel’s Paragon Room.

Friday night music in the hotel will include Kirby Swatosh & the Moon Rock Patrol at 7 p.m. in the Cellar Bar; and The Outer Space Heaters from 8 to 11 p.m. in Mattie’s Room.



Booths on Davis Street, activities in the US Bank Plaza and the beer tent will continue Saturday. UFO Festival Video Contest entries also will be screened at noon and 6 p.m. in the Moonlight Theater, with an awards ceremony at 7 o’clock.

New this year is a free UFO Fun Run, a .8 mile course that may be run more than once. Starting time is 1 p.m., with registration at 12:30.

The big parade will start at 2 p.m. on the east end of Third St. Entry forms are available on the festival website,

Following the parade, Third Street will be closed to cars but open to dancers. Music will continue until 5 p.m.

Willamette Radio Workshop will perform “The Cave of Night,” “They’re Made Out of Meat” and “The Anachronic Man” at 3 p.m. in Mattie’s Room at the Hotel Oregon.

The Alien Pet Costume Contest, open to pets with two, four or more legs, will start at 4 p.m. at Buchanan-Cellars, 855 N.E. Fifth St.

Kirby Swatosh & the Moon Rock Patrol will be back at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Cellar Bar.

The hotel also will host its annual Alien Costume Ball from 8 to 11 p.m. in Mattie’s Room. The Strangetones will be the featured band.

For more information, call the Hotel Oregon, at 503-472-8427, or go to

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