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In super-disappointing local news, according to the Pittsburgh Trib Newspaper (byline: Paul Pierce, May 5, 2021), the Kecksburg UFO Festival is canceled again for this year.
With the COVID pandemic raging around the nation and the world last year, many events were put on hold, but with vaccinations increasing, many of those events are resuming operations this year, albeit in new and different ways, such as requiring masks or holding them outdoors, in order to mitigate the spread of infection.
I was really surprised to hear this particular festival would be canceled, however, for two reasons: 1) much of it is already held outdoors, and 2) Pennsylvania will lift nearly all COVID restrictions, except for the mask mandate, as of May 31st this year.
So why is the Kecksburg festival being canceled?
According to organizer (and volunteer fireman Ron Struble), they just didn’t have enough time to line up the vendors for the festival, which is usually held in July. This unfortunately hurts the fire department, which benefits from the fundraising the festival brings in every year, to the tune of $15-20k. I know they are just as bummed as the rest of us about this, and I can understand the coordination it would take to hold the festival on such short notice would be insurmountable this year. After all, nobody could really make plans for the summer when no one knew what the state of the pandemic would be.
Kecksburg is hoping to host a smaller event this summer, called a drive-thru “Old Fashion Day” — a smaller fundraiser for the fire department where people can bring a lawn chair and enjoy some raffles, get a few hot dogs, and shop in the department’s UFO paraphenalia store.
If you haven’t been to the Kecksburg UFO festival before, I highly recommend it. I went a few years ago and had a wonderful time! It has a lovely, outdoor festival kind of vibe, with hot dog and ice cream stands, funnel cakes, face painting, craft sales booths, and all kinds of fun for families, plus in the firehall they have speakers present on the topic of UFOs and the Kecksburg incident in particular.
If you are unfamiliar with the Kecksburg UFO sighting, here it is in a nutshell: on December 9, 1965, a fireball was seen in the sky, followed by a craft seen crashing in a remote spot in the Pennsylvania woods near Mt. Pleasant Township. Before you could say “boo,” state police sealed off the area and questioned witnesses; meanwhile reports were that authorities had “failed” to find anything in those woods, but witnesses state they saw it being hauled away by US military vehicles to parts unknown.
There have been many theories about what may have been seen that night, whether it was a meteorite, a Soviet satellite that reentered and crashed, or a spy satellite of US origin (or, you know, a UFO). One report has it that scientists investigated and found it to be pieces from a Soviet satellite, but when FOIA requests are made for the records, these findings were reportedly lost in the 1990s.
Look, don’t take my word for it. I’m just a chick who lives 30 miles away from where this all supposedly happened and wasn’t alive at the time, but I find it fascinating the more I delve into it. Go dig up Stan Gordon and listen to one of his talks or read one of his books or listen to one of his podcast or radio show appearances. He is one of the local experts on this and other phenomena, as he has been investigating reports of UFOs and Bigfoot locally here since the sixties.
(Actually, if you want to see Stan speak soon, go to SW PA’s Haunted Con next weekend, May 15th at the Greene County Historical Society. I’ll be there!)
And in 2022, I truly hope you can get yourself over to the Kecksburg UFO Festival. It is truly a delight and appropriate for all ages, a great day for a family outing that benefits a good cause. If you’re not from this part of PA or the world, the site of the festival is only 30 miles away from Pittsburgh, which is a lovely city in its own right and offers much for tourists to do.
In the meantime, if you’d like to support the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department this year, donations can be made to them and sent to 5128 Water Street, Mt. Pleasant, PA 15666.
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