ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Roswell is moving its iconic UFO Festival off of Main Street in downtown. Shop owners, many of them with alien-themed businesses are worried they’re going to take a huge hit.
“It takes away what every person who has planted a business here has worked for,” said store owner Vanessa Roquel Meeks. Downtown business owners are not thrilled over the city of Roswell’s choice to relocate the UFO Festival five blocks away to the Civic Center.
In the past, the city would close Main Street from 2nd to 5th and fill the street with vendors and entertainment with festival-goers also pouring into the businesses that line Main Street. With the move to the Civic Center, business owners are worried fewer visitors will make the trip downtown and they’ll spend less time there.
“After walking the festival there all day they really wouldn’t want to really come downtown and walk all day up here,” said store owner James Schurle. The city says with the festival and 4th of July falling on the same Saturday this year, they wanted to combine the events.
“I just think having it in that centralized location we have a bigger impact for that visitor coming to provide more of an experience for them,” said City of Roswell Public Affairs Director Juanita Jennings.
The city hopes by offering free bus rides and shuttles to the downtown area, Main Street will still be hopping during the three-day UFO Fest. Shop owners are not convinced.
“If anything were to change about the UFO Festival, it should be the type of events not the location,” said Meeks.
The UFO Festival runs July 4, 5, and 6. Admission to the event is free. No decision has been made yet on where next year’s UFO Festival will be held.