Jesus Figueroa applies paint to a giant alien sculpture in the parking lot of Amy’s Fireworks Friday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)
A 9,000-pound extraterrestrial l anded in Roswell June 18, but thereâ€™s no cause for alarm or government cover up. Itâ€™s just Amyâ€™s Fireworks store on East Second Street preparing for the upcoming UFOâ€ˆFestival.
Eddie Arnett, of Amyâ€™s Fireworks, bought a behemoth bright green alien wood carving that weighs about 4 1/2 tons, and is about 18 feet tall and about 16 feet wide, to spruce up his storefront and attract new customers over the Fourth of July weekend.
â€œRoswellâ€™s the all-alien city, and I just thought it was unique,â€ Arnett said. â€œI love it.â€
Transporting the massive alien from Ruidoso Downs to Roswell was quite the ordeal, says the Juarez-born sculptor Jesus Figueroa, 30, owner of Chainsaw Bears by Jesus and Pola, off Highway 70. Figueroa lifted the carving with a pulley attached to his Ford-350 truck at his shop, and rolled it into a 20-foot trailer.
â€œI have an F-350 truck that I was pulling it with, and I was having a hard time,â€â€ˆhe said.
The alien survived the bumpy hour-long drive, but once it arrived at Amyâ€™s, another challenge presented itself. It was laying on its side and needed to be placed upright. The two used a forklift to do the job.
Figueroa returned to Roswell on Friday to repaint the alien after it acquired scrapes from laying on its side. He says he cut down the uncarved tree by a river in Tinnie last summer at an apple orchard with permission from the owners. A professional told him the apple tree was probably 280 years old, he said.
Figueroa says he has been carving aliens for about eight years, and that business booms during the summer when the UFOâ€ˆFestival in Roswell is held.
â€œPeople come to Roswell, and they want to see an alien, no matter if itâ€™s a plastic one or a wood one,â€ he said, adding that he used to be a painter, but â€œPainting doesnâ€™t pay.â€
Alien carvings, big and small, sculpted by Figueroa are sprinkled throughout Roswell, the most noticeable ones being at the Kentucky Fried Chicken and near the International UFOâ€ˆMuseum on Main Street.
Arnett says he wants to adorn his alien with patriotic garb for the holidays.
â€œWeâ€™re going to put a big flag pole on him with a flag,â€ he said.