HIKO, Nev. (AP) — The festivals are over and Earthlings from around the globe headed home Sunday after a weekend camping and partying in the dusty Nevada desert and trekking to remote gates of Area 51, a formerly top-secret U.S. military base long the focus of UFO and space alien lore.They left in peace, officials and the host of a free “Alienstock” festival said Sunday.Visitors hailed from France, Russia, Germany, Peru, Sweden, Australia and many U.S. states — many toting cameras — in answer to an internet post in June suggesting that if enough people rushed a military base to “see them aliens” at 3 a.m. Sept. 20, authorities couldn’t stop everyone.
More than 2 million Facebook users clicked their interest, but in the end only a few thousand made the trip to the tiny Nevada desert city of Rachel, population about 50, a more than two-hour drive north of Las Vegas.Campers and festival-goers in Rachel peaked at about 3,000 on Friday, said Eric Holt, the Lincoln County official who headed planning for a feared influx of at least 30,000.A few hundred more camped and attended one night of an abbreviated festival about 40 miles (64 kilometers) away in Hiko, population 120.“It seems like a lot of good people chilling and having a good time,” observed Dave Wells, a 56-year-old stonemason and festivals-seeker from Cincinnati wearing a day-glow green festival T-Shirt and taking in the scene Saturday in Rachel.
Did anyone find actual extraterrestrials or UFOs? (As if anyone could really tell among the masked and costumed beings posing for photos and cavorting in the desert.)“We didn’t,” said Little A’Le’Inn owner-turned-“Alienstock” festival host Connie West, proprietor of the 10-room motel and cafe that became the center of the extraterrestrial-seeking universe.“But we found peace. And friendship,” she said Sunday as campers packed up to leave and volunteers began cleaning up.
Another event, dubbed “Area 51 Basecamp” at the Alien Research Center souvenir shop in Hiko, didn’t fare as well.
Organizers pulled the plug Saturday on a second concert after drawing only about 500 ticket-buyers for a Friday show. Preparations had been made for up to 5,000.
Authorities said more than 1,000 people visited Area 51 gates near Rachel on Thursday and Friday. Officials didn’t report the