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Editorials: Roswell Local
By Dennis Balthaser
Alien Commercialization of Roswell
Talking to the local Roswell residents that lived here in 1947 will not produce much information in reference to what took place northwest of Roswell in July 1947. The incident pretty well faded away 3 or 4 days after it happened, thanks to General Ramey’s announcement that it was nothing more than a weather balloon. Consequently not many locals know anything about it and there is very little information available from the locals about a crashed UFO or alien bodies. Many locals that were here in ’47 are no longer with us, but the commercialization of the incident by local businesses keeps it in the forefront at least here in Roswell.
Today, 58 years after the incident occurred, one cannot walk around downtown and some outlying areas of Roswell without confronting aliens. Not real ones, but those that have begun showing up on the storefront windows and advertisements for different businesses. They’re everywhere.
For those of you that have never been to Roswell, New Mexico, I’ll share some of those with you in this editorial.
Roswell is well known for it’s dairy industries, cheese factory, farming of chili peppers, pecans, cotton etc., but mention the town of Roswell to most people, and the alien connection with a crashed UFO comes to mind. Consequently many downtown businesses have picked up on the alien theme.
The UFO Museum was incorporated in 1991, and is currently in its third location downtown, containing a gift shop of alien paraphernalia that rings up dollars for the museum in astonishing amounts. You hardly ever see anyone leave the museum without a bag containing items purchased in the gift shop. Commercialization of the 1947 Incident is big business for the museum and some local merchants.
Not long after the museum moved to it’s present location in 1997, many of the businesses on Main Street near the museum picked up on the alien theme and have decorated their storefronts and signs with that logo. It’s rather interesting to walk on Main Street and view the originality of many of the store windows.
The aliens not only show up at T-shirt stores as you’d expect, but one of our furniture stores downtown has aliens depicted in the front windows. A music store also.
On the south end of town toward what was the old Roswell Army Airfield base, a self-storage building complex has adopted the alien theme.
A restaurant or two have an alien theme, and on the menu at one restaurant you can even order a “UFO burger” (whatever that is!!!)
Most local Roswell residents don’t pay much attention to all the alien commercialization by businesses in town, and pretty well accept it, since it has for several years produced large sums of income for the community and has become synonymous with the town of Roswell. The tourists find it rather amusing and interesting when they arrive here for the first time, and many have commented to me about the alien theme presence everywhere.
Our Wal-Mart located at the north edge of Roswell on US 285 is unique in its large artistic display on the front of the building. Surely there is not another Wal-Mart anywhere with aliens on the storefront as ours is.
Recently McDonalds restaurant took the idea of Roswell being known for a UFO crash and constructed a "flying saucer" McDonalds adjacent to the location of the original McDonalds. I suppose one could say a McDonalds crashed in Roswell. The design is unique and is a great visualization of a flying saucer including the hatch open in the front portion of the craft, as a play area for children.
A few years ago the city of Roswell even joined the theme when all the streetlights in downtown had what appear to be eyes painted on the glass light globes atop the street lamp poles. Many people probably don’t notice them, but when looking at them it’s obvious what they are representing.
If you haven’t been to Roswell and are planning to come in the future, be sure to look around downtown and get to know all the aliens who have invaded our town recently.
Their presence sure sets us aside from any other location that may have had a crashed UFO in their past, and it’s not surprising that when the town of Roswell is mentioned anywhere, aliens and a UFO crash come to mind, because they are here, especially on Main Street.
All photographs Copyrighted © 2005, Dennis G. Balthaser
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