Alien enthusiasts are descending on rural Nevada en masse for a pair of festivals celebrating Area 51 and the UFOs it could be hiding – but locals don’t want them there and neither do the military, who’ve called in reinforcements.
UFO enthusiasts have begun making the pilgrimage out to Rachel and Hiko, Nevada, sites of two competing festivals scheduled for this weekend, real-life versions of the “Storm Area 51” event scheduled that went viral on Facebook last month and attracted millions of would-be attendees. The impending human tide has provoked a grim response from authorities protecting whatever the secretive military base holds, but the xenophiles are determined to party anyway.
Alienstock, the festival planned for Rachel, is currently embroiled in a legal battle and was cancelled last week, according to the event website. But that hasn’t stopped Connie West, owner of Rachel’s only commercial establishment, the Little A’Le’Inn, from moving forward, or guests from arriving from all over the world – or the galaxy.
“It’ll be the biggest damn party I ever threw,” West told KTVN-TV, which filmed some of the early arrivals, one of whom claimed to be “sent here from the Solar Galactic Federation.”
So far, so good, according to West.
A little further from the top-secret base, revelers are getting ready for Storm Area 51 Basecamp, held at the Alien Research Center in Hiko. Organizers seem to have put a bit more thought into planning – there’s a medical team, complete with t-shirt uniforms, and internationally-famous performers including DJ Paul Oakenfold. Fast food chain Arby’s is on the scene with a “special alien-themed menu,” including “galaxy shakes” and “redacted on rye” sandwiches.
The FAA has declared a no-fly zone over the surrounding airspace, including drones, while Lincoln and Nye County authorities have laid out plans of action, complete with “operations centers” that seem hopelessly inadequate for the tens of thousands of people expected to swarm the sparsely populated area.
Rachel, the closest town to Area 51, has a population of 54, according to its website – which warns visitors to “STAY AWAY FROM RACHEL,” all-caps included, and hints that “people will get hurt.”
We expect riots when those visitors that may show up and paid good money find out that the reality looks nothing like what they were promised.
The Air Force is “taking it very seriously,” chief of staff David Goldfein told reporters in the days leading up to the festivals. “Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected.” If you don’t want people poking around your top-secret base, that’s probably the worst thing you could possibly say.
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