Area 51 celebrations ahead as towns prepare for UFOers; Brands capitalize

McMinnville McMenamins UFO fest
Marcher in the parade at McMinnville, Oregon’s, annual McMenamins UFO Festival. (Photo Carol M. Highsmith, 2018)

As the weekend approaches, September 20, 2019 could be the start of something bigger. Or not. No one knows how many people will head towards Area 51, the legendary US military complex in southern Nevada. A call for people to “storm Area 51” was, according to the college student who posted the original message on Facebook, “meant to be funny.”

Legions of people apparently missed the joke. Festivals are planned in the countryside surrounding the facility, and people are heading there from across the USA.

Get this: Arby’s is sending their food truck from East coast to West to accommodate hungry Area 51 and UFO enthusiasts. Arby’s isn’t alone in getting in on the fun. There is a twist though. The original ‘Storm Area 51’ promoter is no longer associated with the events in towns around the facility.

Forbes wrote about various companies capitalizing on what looks like a purely organic convergence. Kool-Aid and Bud Light are jumping in on an event that promises to be whatever attendees and residents make of it.

Area 51 is a legend, and mere mention of that name evokes thoughts of UFOs and government conspiracies. From TV documentaries to books and music, Area 51 has captured the imagination of many a curiosity seeker.

In my morning email, Reverbnation sent me an “Area 51 road trip playlist”—the song I liked best on it was “Your Feeling Is Mine” by The MOBROS.

I don’t know anyone personally who’s heading to Nevada this weekend, but if you do, warn them. The  desert environment will not be kind to the naïve, and accommodations in the region are slim to none. There’s a somewhat saner alternative scheduled in the city most famous for gambling.

The student who started the affair is now involved in what some might call a more practical approach—the “Area 51 Celebration.” It’s scheduled in the more comfortable quarters of downtown Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, towns around the government facility are doing their best to get ready for thousands who may show up in response to the original post. Or not.

(Kay B. Day/Sept. 19, 2019)
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