On Friday afternoon, 28 July 2017, Michael King and I made the drive to an interesting little town about 30 minutes east of Olympia, WA, USA. The goal for the weekend was to sell some shirts and observe the goings-on at an actual, honest to goodness, UFO festival full of TRUE BELIEVERS and fun seekers…
The image below is from the first day as we were setting up shop. Michael, who is the mind behind Bonemill D-Signs and the H.E.X clothing line, as well as one of the primary creators from the Art Horse collective, created several UFO / alien themed garments just for this event—and frankly, they went over quite well!
Did I see any UFOs at the event? Only one…
I did, however, see a great many aliens.
What I set out to do (besides help Michael with his booth) was to listen to the believers and see what they had to say. I’m a skeptic when it comes to UFOs and aliens visiting our planet, but I had no desire to try to challenge anyone’s stories or personal experiences. I just wanted to hear what they had to say, and it turned out that we had a number of people visit our booth who had stories that they wanted to share. (More than I thought we would have!) I heard several eye-witness sightings, learned that the C.I.A. is now based in Washington State (because of all the UFO activity here), saw some photos from one guy’s phone of what he claimed was a UFO captured while he was taking snaps of the moon, heard a bit about the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, talked to an interesting older Native American fellow who said his tribe has believed in the “Star People” for many hundreds of years, and we even got to hear some stories from a guy who had worked as a radar reader in the 1960s and claimed that he “got paint” on an object moving at over 6,000 miles an hour! (That’s fast…) Some of the people who chose to share had a bit of a “creepy vibe” that made me feel rather uncomfortable (perhaps a bit TOO intense for my taste), but most of the visitors we talked to were friendly and pleasant.
Unfortunately, even after a long and enlightening weekend, I am still not convinced that aliens are visiting us here on Earth.
Saturday was hot, but there were still a great many people who came by the festival. Many of them said that they spotted the event as they were driving by and decided to check it out. I don’t blame them—it was basically a big carnival. Throughout the day there were vendor booths with a variety of weird themes, like “Sacred Geometry and Art” or “Spirit Portraits” or various alternative diet foods and other (somewhat sketchy) products and information services. There were also food carts and ice cream trucks and a beer garden and music performers from morning to night for all three days. (My favorite band played on Saturday night, The Fabulous Downey Brothers, and they had a very new wave style, kind of a Devo meets Techno, with costumes and a backing video with great, cheesy, 80’s style computer graphics. I was definitely impressed!) (The photo below is from a folk singer / Native American dance act that played Friday night.)
As I said at the beginning of this post, Michael ended up doing well at the event. About halfway through the 2nd day of the fest, the coordinators ran out of shirts in most of the popular sizes, (underestimated the demand), and they started sending people over to Michael’s booth to buy some of his designs, and then the customers could take the shirts back to the main information booth and have the Yelm UFO Fest logo heat-pressed onto the backs! Even without this extra sales boost, the UFO and alien shirts sold very well, particularly the “I Want to Leave” design and the Adamski Flying Saucer on tie-dye.
For my first UFO festival, I’d say it was a pretty good time. It was WAY TOO HOT, especially on Saturday, and it was a loooong weekend, but worth the drive, for sure. (We left directly from work on Friday, and didn’t pull back into my town until almost 6:00 P.M. on Sunday evening, and Michael lives even further down the freeway than I do!) Overall—it was fun. I might even be inclined to go again next year!
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Grand Hoohaa of The P.E.W.)