It’s almost time for an annual celebration that’s truly out of this world. Every year, McMenamins Hotel Oregon in McMinnville hosts the UFO Festival which includes an alien costume parade, a 5k alien abduction dash and kids’ fun run, and a alien laser tag and dodgeball tournament just for the kids. Sound unreal? You’ll just have to see it to believe it! Scroll down for all the details.

photo: via McMenamins UFO Festival

A Town with a Story
Why hold a UFO festival in McMinnville, you ask? This small Oregon town was home to the famed 1950 Trent flying saucer sighting. As the story goes, Evelyn and Paul Trent spotted a metallic disk-shaped object flying through the sky near their farm at dusk. The photos they took appeared in Life magazine, were reprinted across the country, and are arguably the most famous photos of a UFO sighting ever recorded.

The Festival
40 miles south of Portland, the UFO Festival is held in Oregon’s beautiful wine country at McMenamins’ historic Hotel Oregon. Now in it’s 18th year, the festival began as a way to honor the Trent Case it and has grown to be one of the most well respected festivals of its kind.

Attendees, both big and little, can expect to enjoy plenty of McMenamin’s tasty pub fare  along with lots of family fun and food for thought for true believers and skeptics alike. Along with a lineup of speakers that include hypnotherapists, alien abduction experts, and UFO experiencers that mom and dad will enjoy listening to and mingling with, there is a McMinnville UFO sighting Documentary Screening, a Landing Party with live music and vendor booths, and an Alien Costume ball where everyone in the family can dress to impress and compete for a prize while dancing to live music.

photo: via McMenamins UFO Festival

Family Fun

The events listed above are just the beginning. The UFO festival has an impressive lineup of activities that are designed specifically for the little aliens in your crew.

New This Year
Returning abductees have a new adventure to look forward to this year: Alien Lasertag and Dodgeball! On Friday, May 19 from 7-9 p.m. at Patton Middle School, kids ages 9-16 can dress up as aliens (or alien hunters) and take each other on for a chance to win prizes. Tourneys will take place according to age groups and registration is encouraged because there are limited spots available.

Run for Your Life
At the Alien Abduction Dash 5k and Kids’ Fun Run you can dress up like a creature of your choosing and run like your life depends on it at the Linfield College Wellness Trail. The race will be held on Saturday, May 20 at 9 a.m. for the 5k and 10:30 a.m. for the kids’ fun run, which cost $30 and $15, respectively. The kids’ fun run is 1.5 miles and open to ages 14 and under. Register by May 10 and you’ll be guaranteed a race beanie to add to your costume!

photo: via McMenamins UFO Festival

The Big Parade
The main event for most festival-goers with littles in tow is definitely the UFO Parade. This free event marches through town blasting viewers with everything from the wackiest aliens to the most impressive Star Wars characters and every sci fi and fantasy character in between. Many spectators will arrive in costumes of their own, so don’t be afraid to represent the far side as your family prepares. The parade starts at 2 p.m. and you’ll want to stake out a spot early.

Dress up Your Pet
We already mentioned the costume contest for all of the humans in your family, but what about your pets? This festival is truly for the whole family including your furriest members. On May 20 at 3:30 p.m., dress you pet up, bring them to the Buchanan Cellers and enter them in the pet costume contest.

photo: via McMenamins UFO Festival

Event Details

UFO Festival
May 18-21
Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St. McMinnville, Or.

Alien Lasertag & Dodgeball
May 19, 7-9 p.m.
Patton Middle School
McMinnville
$16 for residents; $19 for non-residents
Register online

Alien Abduction Dash 5k and Kids’ Fun Run
May 20, 9 a.m. (5k) and 10:30 a.m. (fun run, ages 14 and under)
Linfield College Wellness Trail
McMinnville
$30 (5k) and $15 (fun run)
Register online

UFO Parade
May 20, 2 p.m.
310 NE Evans St.
McMinnville
503-472-8427
Online: ufofest.com

Pet Costume Contest
May 20, 3 p.m.
Buchanan Cellers at Hotel Oregon

Online: ufo.com

Will your family visit the UFO Festival this year? Share with us in the comments below!

— Marianne Walters