Marcus Larson/News-Register file photo##Parade participants get in touch with their inner space cadets. The event is a lighthearted highlight of
the UFO Festival, which draws visitors from near and far, far away.
Marcus Larson/News-Register file photo##Parade participants get in touch with their inner space cadets. The event is a lighthearted highlight of the UFO Festival, which draws visitors from near and far, far away.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Mike McKenzie walks Zoo Zoo and the dog’s passenger, a monkey from outer space, past the judges during last year’s Alien Pet Costume Contest.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Mike McKenzie walks Zoo Zoo and the dog’s passenger, a monkey from outer space, past the judges during last year’s Alien Pet Costume Contest.
By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Interstellar Celebration

They gravitate to McMinnville just as a flying saucer did 65 years ago, posing for photos above the nearby Trent farm.

When the pictures were printed in the Telephone-Register, a forerunner of the News-Register, they caused a worldwide sensation. The pictures have never been disproved, and the Trent sighting remains one of the most talked-about cases in ufology history.

The Trent sighting inspired McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon and the McMinnville Downtown Association to start the UFO Festival in 2000, the 50th anniversary of the famous photos.

The event quickly became one of the most popular UFO gatherings in the nation, attracting crowds to its scholarly seminars, panel discussions, music, an alien ball and the wildly popular UFO parade.

The costume parade, which slimes its way down Third Street at 2 p.m. Saturday, is a great place to see all sorts of spacecraft and space creatures, from Martian visitors to characters from “Star Trek” and its sequels. Just be sure to get downtown earlier, so you’ll find a place to park your saucer.

The parade is one of numerous family activities associated with the UFO Festival. Vendor booths, a fun run and a movie all are included; most are free.

The scholarly part of the festival features a gallery of ufology stars — including the venerable Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist who lends his scientific stature to the field of UFO studies.

Friedman will discuss “The Truth About Operation Majestic 12,” during his presentation at 7 p.m. Friday, May 15, in the McMinnville Community Center. Admission is $20 in advance or $25 on the day of the event.

Tickets also are $20 in advance or $25 at the door for the other programs in the community center. VIP passes, with admission to all events, cost $70.

The speakers’ lineup includes:

- UFO witness and abductee Travis Walton, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14.

- Researcher and author Kathleen Marden on “The Evidence of ET Contact,” 3 p.m. Friday.

- UFO expert Grant Cameron on “The Latest on the UFO and the Consciousness Connection,” at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16.

- All the speakers are featured in a panel discussion, 6 p.m. Saturday.

In addition, Peter Davenport, head of the UFO Reporting Center, will welcome UFO enthusiasts at a breakfast Sunday morning. The event will run from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the Hotel Oregon. Cost is $25 per person.

Other events and activities scheduled during the UFO Festival include:

- Live radio broadcast with Clyde Lewis, 7 p.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday in the Hotel Oregon. Free.

- Booths downtown Friday and Saturday. McMenamins will have a food, beer and gift tent open from 9 .a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

- “Spaced-out rock” with Kirby Swatosh and the Moon Rock Patrol, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and again Saturday, Cellar Bar in the Hotel Oregon. Free.

- Live music from the Strange Tones, 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Mattie’s Room in the Hotel Oregon. Free.

- UFO Abduction Dash, a short fun run along a course filled with alien obstacles, noon Saturday, starting from U.S. Bank Plaza at Third and Davis streets. Cost is $12 per person, payable at the MDA office or online at alienabductiondash@eventbrite.

- UFO Costume Parade, 2 p.m. Saturday. Free.

- Music by the Garcia Birthday Band, 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday on Third Street in front of the Hotel Oregon.

- Willamette Radio Workshop presents “The Martian Death March’ and “Planet Man,” 3 p.m. Saturday, Hotel Oregon. Free.

- Alien Pet Costume Contest, 4 p.m. Saturday at Buchanan Cellers, 855 N.E. Fifth St. Free.

- Alien costume ball with music by Big Mama Gayle and Her Sugar Daddies, 8 to 11 p.m., Mattie’s Room in the Hotel Oregon. Free.

For more information about the UFO Festival, contact the McMinnville Downtown Association at 503-472-3605, or go to McMenamins’ festival website, ufofest.com.

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