Most fairs and carnivals try to attract a wide demographic: Families, singles, foodies, aspiring prize-winners, but the organizers at the San Diego Country Fair are casting their net even wider and hope to get some extraterrestrials.
The Fair opens June 8 is themed «Out Of This World,» and, as such, will include exhibits dedicated to space travel done by humans and alleged trips to Earth by alien visitors.
Fair spokeswoman Linda Zweig says the fair is America’s sixth largest, but hopes to get bigger by attracting visitors from beyond the southern California — like Alpha Centauri.
«It would be so cool if some aliens decide to come,» she told the Huffington Post. «I don’t know if their craft would fit in the parking lot, but if they show up, we’ll make room. There’s plenty of room in the infield.»
The infield area just happens to be where most of the alienating exhibits are located in a section called «Area Fifty Fun,» that will have displays of alleged alien encounters such as Roswell and ancient Egypt, and a mock UFO crash, according to NBC San Diego, which also reports that a creature known only as «Roswell the tweeting alien» will be providing online updates throughout the Fair like this one:
Here’s a little cosmic trivia to brighten up your Monday: Why did Captain Kirk go into the ladies toilet? Send those answers in! — Roswell (@RoswellSDFair) June 4, 2012
Although mixing extraterrestrials with cotton candy, Tilt-A-Whirls and livestock competitions could be conceivably alienating, UFO researcher Mel Podell of the San Diego chapter of the Mutual UFO Network believes it’s an out-of-this-world opportunity to raise the profile of Ufology.
«This may be the first UFO-themed fair ever,» Podell told The Huffington Post. «Hopefully, it will bring in more members to MUFON.»
Podell says San Diego is already hotbed for UFO activity, thanks, in part, to the many military bases, and because the trademark sunny skies make it easier to spot strange aircraft.
«Especially in summer,» he added. «That’s when people get outside to enjoy themselves and see these things.» and says the area gets increased sightings in summer.»
Another researcher who believes the Fair could make a serious impact on making ufology mainstream is Ed McBride, a former teacher who has organized exhibits at the fair about sightings in New Mexico and in ancient Egypt as well as in San Diego.
«The fact that they’re doing this is amazing, partially because of there’s so much institutional denial about UFOs, and also because they’re focusing on the science aspect,» McBride told The Huffington Post. «There are many sightings here in San Diego, but the ones that get the attention are all the metaphysical woo-woo stuff.»
The most famous example of that may be the 1997 mass suicide by the member’s of the Heaven’s Gate cult that took place in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., a short saucer ride away from the fairgrounds.
That event, which led to 39 deaths, is not mentioned in any of the UFO exhibits according to sources.
Zweig predicts the alien-themed fair will break attendance records, mainly because a calendar quirk gives them a couple extra days, but, to be fair, there doesn’t seem to be much buzz about it among San Diego locals who claim to converse with extraterrestrials.
Eve Featherstone, an artist who says she channels her work from extraterrestrials from other dimensions including «a female reptoid goddess-like creature,» was unaware about the UFO carnival until she was contacted by The Huffington Post.
Still, she thinks it sounds right up the alley of the E.T.s she knows.
«As long as it’s fun and silly, they’ll love it,» she told The Huffington Post. «If it’s fear-based, they’re not interested.»
Zweig admitted that not every UFO group in San Diego was contacted about the fair, which explains why the area’s oldest organization, Unarius, didn’t get invited.
The group, which has been around since the mid-1950s, believes that 33 alien spaceships are currently on their way to Earth to land one on top of each other in a rural area of San Diego County and start an E.T. university, but, apparently, they forgot to contact fair officials to let them know their availability.
But Unarius spokeswoman Tracey Kennedy doesn’t feel alienated by the solar system snub.
«Any awareness about life on other worlds is good,» she told The Huffington Post. «I do believe that people think there is life on other worlds.»
McBride believes only good can come of the fair, reegardless of whether real E.T.s show up to sample the Fair’s offerings — including its newest contribution to carnival culinary delights, a two-pound turkey leg covered with a pound of bacon.
«This is a big chance to open [Ufology] up and present the facts,» McBride said. «We want to give people an idea of this topic beyond ‘Men In Black.'»