ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The 23rd annual UFO festival in Roswell is next weekend, and the city is getting ready to be “invaded” by crowds. So, just how much of a business boom is the popular gathering that celebrates all thing aliens?
“It’s like when you have company coming over to your house, you start cleaning, right? So, the city is no different,” said Juanita Jennings, director of public affairs.
From every detail, like power washing the streets and planting more flowers, city officials say without a doubt this is their busiest time of year.
“This is what we look forward to. It’s kind of like Christmas, you know? People look forward to Christmas, this is our Christmas in July,” said Jennings. “And instead of Santa Claus, it’s those aliens we hope that are coming back.
The city closes off a few blocks on Main Street to make way for all of the food, activity, and vendor tents. Last year, the city says around 16,000 people attended from all over, and this year, they’re hoping and prepping for around 20,000.
With the huge crowd, comes a big impact to the city’s economy. “Oh, we burn it down, it’s awesome,” said Beth Wiegand with the International UFO Museum and Research Center.
Combined with the Fourth of July, it’s a time when almost all hotels are booked solid, and if rooms are available, prices can be seen for more than double a night.
A room at the Comfort Suites for the last weekend in July goes for $88 online, while the same room during the UFO Fest goes for nearly $200. Local businesses and restaurants see the influx of people, too.
“We get about 53% more during UFO week than like, the week before. It’s huge. The numbers just jump,” said Kerry Moore, co-owner of Chef Todzilla’s.
The museum and research center, which averages around 800 visitors on a normal day, is no exception to the trend. “Our best day last year, it was the second day of the festival, and we did over 3,000 people, just here,” said Wiegand.
The city says it’s hoping the new show ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ airing on the CW, and the city’s new ad campaign will help draw in some more fans this year.