Every spring, Third Street is taken over by tin foil, antennae and alien lifeforms as part of a long running annual event called McMenamin’s UFOfest that celebrates our town’s rich paranormal history. This year’s festival occurs May 16-18 in downtown McMinnville. It marks the 20th anniversary of the largest other-worldly gathering in the world.
What started as a small gathering of costume-wearing alien enthusiasts in 1999 has blossomed into an internationally recognized event. UFOfest features renowned speakers and experts, wine & beer gardens, live music, a street fair, parades and an Alien Costume Ball. There’s fun for the whole family, pets included. And the content ranges from entry-level, amusing and curious to scholarly and investigative. Whether you’re seeking answers to big questions or just looking for an opportunity to dress up, this gathering has become a McMinnville favorite.
A Bit of History
In 1950, a photograph taken near McMinnville depicted what appeared to be an unidentified flying object. The photo gained national attention, ultimately finding a home in Life magazine. The image jump started an interest in all things extraterrestrial, one that would only grow after other alleged events at places like Roswell, New Mexico and Area 51 in Nevada.
2019 Festival Highlights
The 2019 UFOfest touts a busy calendar of alien themed entertainment. The busy weekend kicks off on Thursday with a wine tasting in the Evans Street tent, aptly named Close Encounters of the 3rd Vine. Friday features a bevy of live music acts along with several speakers, including David Paulides on the topic of “missing persons.” Paulides has spent years researching cases of vanishing people and pinpointed 59 areas within the U.S. where it’s most likely to happen. Just to add intrigue, four of those zones are set within Oregon.
Saturday starts with a 5K dash at Linfield for those feeling energetic. There’s a pet costume contest that afternoon, along with the UFO Festival Parade and the Alien Costume Ball, where you’re likely to see some of the most inventive and out-there costumes around. There’s even a bonus event on Sunday that features breakfast with the speakers of the weekend, in a casual and interactive setting. Experience the UFO Festival for yourself – click here for a full lineup of out-of-this-world happenings just outside the doors of the Atticus Hotel.