A VW Beetle is reflected by the hub cap of another Beetle at the Best Western Sally Port Inn, Friday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Downtown Roswell will be full of bugs tonight — VW Beetles to be specific — and many couldn’t be more thrilled.
Beetle owners from across America and Canada will converge in the parking lot of the International UFO Museum on North Main Street beginning at 6 p.m. for a car show, followed by Hot Wheel races before ramping up for their “Glow Show” cruise up and down Main Street.
“For the people, 11 p.m. is the big deal,” said Earl McCutcheon, of Solvang, Calif.
The Beetles will be brightly lit up with neon lights and start cruising the street, departing from the museum up to the Best Western Sally Port Inn and back a few times.
UFO Museum operations manager Mark Briscoe said the museum always enjoys being a part of the Beetle event.
“They’re just a lot of fun,” Briscoe said. “We’ve always been a part of the Beetle experience. Also it brings money to the community.”
The Beetles started gathering in Roswell in 2000, following the release of a Volkswagen advertisement that inferred the vehicles were “reverse engineered from UFOs.”
The Return2Roswell weekend fest organizers expect close to 50 Beetles this year. With the redesign of new model and possible inclusion of other models, the group hopes future events will spark renewed interest in the gathering, said this year’s organizer Antoine Delton.
The UFO museum keeps miniature VW Beetles on its library shelves as reminders of past events.
“They made these and gave them to us,” Briscoe said. “It’s just a great bunch of people. We’re excited to have them.”
Terry Lindberg, owner of Hippie Chicks boutique, said she enjoys meeting the Beetle owners every time they come to Roswell.
“All day today, we’ve met people from everywhere,” Lindberg said.
The boutique on South Main Street that sells a collection of fun, trendy clothing and accessories is known for its split-apart VW Bug display on its roof outside.
“We always make sure we have the Action Beetle cars for them,” Lindberg said. “I love meeting everybody.”
Lindberg used to run a booth at the event when it attracted more visitors. She said she hoped more Beetle models would be included in the future. In the meantime, she will have her shop open for the event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and hold specials.
Sunday’s Return2Roswell events include a breakfast banquet and awards ceremony for the gathering at Sally Port Inn.
Event organizers said the weekend always produces many stories.
“People have gotten engaged who met in Roswell in the past,” McCutcheon said. “It’s a family event actually.”