Parade participants begin their march down Main Street during the 2012 Roswell UFO Festival, Saturday. Mark Wilson Photo
Roswell’s Alien Parade colored the streets with creative floats, wacky costumes, vintage cars and motorcycles, Saturday, encapsulating the spirit of the UFO festivals that have so far entertained thousands from around the world. The parade, which began at Ninth Street and continued to Third Street, attracted visitors of all kinds to the sidewalks along Main Street to take in the action.
Vade Henderson traveled to Roswell this weekend from Tucson with a group of friends and her 90-year-old grandmother Phillips Grace.
“We’ve been planning this since last year!” Henderson said. “We all got together, a whole group of friends and caravanned over. The costumes are unbelieveable! It’s been amazing so far.”
Grace said she didn’t know what to expect this weekend. “I didn’t know how to dress, I was at a loss! I certainly enjoyed all the lectures, I learned so much that I didn’t know. … I was surprised. I had never heard of the Russians having their own UFO experiences — that was news to me.”
Terry Dalke, who also traveled from Tucson, said the group of friends are what she would call “festival junkies.”
“We’ve been to the Fairy Festival, Renaissance parades, we’ve been in the zombie parade, and we could not miss the Roswell alien festival — we thought that was just a key thing for us.
“We love the playfulness, the costumes, the enthusiasm, the wide-eyed wonder of the kids; it’s all just incredible. It’s been such a friendly and welcoming town, and we’ve met a lot of folks here. It’s just a real joy.”
Roswell resident John Schaffer, who drove a 1928 Model A Ford in the parade, said the value of parades is all about relaxation. “People can really enjoy what they see in this parade. It maybe gets their mind off of the local political scene, and worrying about what’s happening in the world.
“… I think it’s great for the town. It’s a real boon for all these people to be coming in. I guess they get something out of it or they wouldn’t come!”
Kim Bebon, director for Miss Earth New Mexico, paraded down Main Street with Miss Earth ladies Selena Pobleno and Kimberly Muniz. Bebon said the undeniable singularity of the occasion is what stood out most to her.
“We’re walking in a parade celebrating the aliens crashing near Roswell,” Bebon laughed. “I just think this is a really unique event here in Roswell. We wanted to be a part of it, and be able to experience it.”
Mayor Del Jurney, who attended the parade with his wife Kristie, said UFO events in Roswell continue to deliver. “What we want is for people to come to Roswell, for them to have a good experience while they’re here, and to have an opportunity to get to know about Roswell and who we are as a community. So it’s exciting.
“It gives us an opportunity to expose who we are, all the things that we have that really identify who we are as a community.”