|It's not a stretch to say that any mysteries surrounding mozzarella cheese will go largely unnoticed in the public's mind. This is probably why Roswell, N.M., which is the home of the country's largest mozzarella plant, is not known for its abundant dairy products. Ironically, Roswell is most famous for an incident that happened more than 50 years ago: the alleged crash of an alien spacecraft in 1947.
Today, the controversy involving the mysterious crash, the alleged recovery of alien beings and the presumption of a massive military cover-up rages on. The city of Roswell boasts a population of nearly 50,000 residents, a healthy economy, and a reputation for being a haven for UFO enthusiasts. It's a reputation that city leaders openly embrace. In fact, one of the city's marketing campaigns to entice overnight visitors to Roswell uses the slogan: "Crash in Roswell."
The International UFO Museum and Research Center
Perhaps the city's biggest salute to the "incident" is the International UFO Museum and Research Center, located in downtown Roswell. Walter Haut and Glen Dennis, along with Roswell resident, Max Littell, felt the story of the 1947 Roswell Incident would be best told to the world via a UFO Museum, which they opened to the public in January 1992. The International UFO Museum and Research Center (IUFOMRC) operates today as a non-profit organization at 114 North Main in Roswell, N.M., 88201, phone: (505) 625-9495 and can be visited on the Internet at www.iufomrc.com.
Interestingly, IUFOMRC is fast becoming the clearinghouse for information related to UFOs and the phenomenon surrounding them. The museum staff takes pride in providing information to those who want to learn more about the 1947 Roswell Incident, UFOs and any subjects relating to the phenomenon of UFOs.
IUFOMRC visitors can read old newspaper articles about aliens or see exhibits such as the mannequins used in the Showtime movie about the 1947 "incident." Additional featured exhibits include, "Crop Circles: Phenomenon or Hoax?" "Ancient Cultures and their Connections to Extraterrestrial Life Forms" and a collection of UFO-related comics entitled "The Lighter Side."
During the first four years IUFOMRC was open, 144,997 curious visitors toured the museum. In December 1996, the Tourism Association of New Mexico awarded the IUFOMRC its coveted "Top Tourist Destination of New Mexico" award. Last year, nearly 200,000 people from all over the world visited the museum. According to guest registers, an average of 30 different states and 11 foreign countries are represented by the visitors to the museum daily.
50th Anniversary of the Roswell Incident
In July 1997, over 40,000 people from all over the world descended on Roswell for the UFO Encounter, a weeklong event that marked 50 years since the now-famous 1947 "Roswell Incident." The celebration, which included parades, lectures and research presentations, was a huge success. It brought in an estimated $2 million, which was very beneficial for the local and state economy. Several articles about the 50th anniversary celebration are available from the Roswell Daily Record.
Several hundred people attended an Encounter Banquet, which was held in Hangar 84, the purported holding site for the crash debris. According to sources at the IUFOMRC, July 1947 was marked by intense thunderstorms, thought to be responsible for the crash. During the 1997, 50th Anniversary keynote speech by UFO author, Whitley Strieber, intense rain and thunderstorms swept down upon the gathering, water rushed under the closed doors of the hanger and noise from pounding rain and thunder made it nearly impossible to hear Strieber's presentation. Attendees felt the storm's timing and intensity both ironic and chilling, marking the precise 50th anniversary of the Roswell crash.
Roswell Represents New Mexico on U-Haul Trucks
The U-Haul SuperGraphic image of the 1947 Roswell Incident honoring the State of New Mexico and the IUFOMRC was unveiled January 12, 1998, closing part of Roswell's Main Street for the event. Roswell Mayor Tom Jennings proclaimed January 12th, "Unidentified Flying U-Haul Day" in Roswell. At that time, a full-size U-Haul Super Graphic image was dedicated, autographed by museum founders and donated to the museum for permanent display.
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