Saturday, July 4, 2015

Roswell 2015 UFO Festival

The one of a kind Crashed in the Dirt
Roswell T-Shirt by James W. Allmon

We are in the middle of the Roswell UFO Festival that is celebrated every year from 3-5th July to commemorate the legendary UFO crash of 1947. 

Roswell does not have much to offer to tourists and yet, every year people are coming to this sleepy Southwestern town to have some fun. Unfortunately, from one year to another, the festival becomes a pitiful and rather boring event as if the organizers were determined to discourage people from future visits. And truly, if this was not for the UFO fame, no one would even stop here on their way to or from the Carlsbad Caverns. Roswell is one of those small American towns you pass through very quickly and hope you do not have to come back. 

Alien eyes on a Roswell lantern by Larry Welz

When we first moved to Roswell in 2009 the sight of tumbleweeds rolling dawn the road near our house was a sign of the doom that was soon to spread over Roswell like an impenetrable cosmic fog from a science fiction movie. 

Roswell McDonald's mural by Larry Welz, fragment

Things changed from bad to worse over the past few years. The 55th anniversary of the UFO crash in 2012, for instance, did not even have the alien parade. You could see slightly disoriented and very disappointed tourists wandering around the town. The gift shops selling kitchy UFO-inspired gifts were dying off like flies. The artist who created beautiful murals in the city and adorned the street lanterns with alien eyes, moved out of town.

Roswell space ship shaped McDonald's restaurant

The few remaining gift stores and UFO aficionados are struggling against the dictatorship of the Roswell UFO Museum who imposes strict interpretation of events and does not tolerate creativity. And yet, there are few determined local artists who bring out unique designs not seen anywhere else. 

Roswell Lantern with Alien Eyes by Larry Welz

One such artist, James W. Allmon, created a nearly famous Crashed In The Dirt Roswell T-shirt. Each shirt was dyed in the same Roswell dirt that a UFO is believed to have crashed in 1947.

The dirt used in the process is a red oxide that was dug out by James near the city of Roswell. The dyeing process that was perfected by the artist takes almost a week. Because the garment was hand dyed there are some variations in color that make the T-shirt even more attractive. A noticeable thing about the Crashed in the Dirt T-shit is that it’ll fade a bit over time, but the color never washes out completely. Currently there is one such shirt left on sale, but the artist will produce another batch of shirts before this year is over.

James also makes magnets, Space Age inspired Christmas tree ornaments, greeting cards and other items that cannot be obtained in any of the Roswell stores. He just started a blog called The Galactic Enquirer and a Facebook page of the same name.

If you happen to visit New Mexico you may not want to waste your time on Roswell. People here are not necessarily hostile to visitors, but they do not want to be remembered as a freak town. They are very proud of their cheese factory and the pecan plantations, but UFOs? Not really. 

By Dominique Allmon

The Crushed In the Dirt T-Shirt can be purchased here

To visit The Galactic Enquirer please click here