It's been 50 years since Mississippi first made headlines around the world after two men claimed to have been abducted by aliens, and you can celebrate it at the Closest Encounter Festival in Pascagoula.
"It takes place on Delmas Avenue in downtown Pascagoula," said Susannah Northrop, executive director of Main Street Pascagoula. "We block off all of Delmas Avenue, so it's a block party.
"We're going to have a band. They're called DirtRoad Cadillac. We have art and crafts vendors. We'll be selling some alien-themed goods. People are encouraged to wear alien outfits."
Northrop said there will be activities for children such as free face painting. A speaker will be there to discuss the alleged abduction and claims of UFO sightings that took place on Oct. 11, 1973.
Two men, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, claimed they were fishing on the Pascagoula River that evening when a craft with bright lights appeared and hovered near them. The two said three aliens floated them into the craft and examined them while they were aboard. They were then floated back down to the bank and the craft disappeared.
Saying he wanted to set the record straight, Parker wrote two books in the last years of his life about the event. He also wrote the forward for a third a book which was released earlier this year authored by Philip Mantle and Irena Scott.
Northrop said the most recent book, Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Pascagoula Alien Abduction, will be available for purchase at the festival.
An out of this world alien bar crawl
Northrop said local businesses will be open, and festival-goers can shop or dine at some of the local eateries. While it's a family-friendly event, it does have a component only for adults.
"We'll be having an alien bar crawl," Northrop said. "We have several businesses participating in the bar crawl."
Businesses in the bar crawl such the Downtown Jazz Club will be serving signature drinks concocted for the festival.
"We've been calling it The Alien," said bar manager Susan Williams. "The Alien is a green, rum-based shot that is out of this world. Beam me up, bottoms up."
At Scranton's Restaurant, the festival drink name is a bit more, umm, descriptive.
"It's called The Alien Ooze," said manager Jackson Pickett. "It's like a punch we make. It's tangy, sweet, the perfect shade of green and it will definitely send you into outer space."
Northrop said some people are skeptical of the event's roots, but that's no reason not to go and enjoy the evening.
"We always say, 'Believe it or not, it's still a fun time,'" Northrop said.
UFO witnesses speak: 'The story is very true. That's what has bothered me for 45 years.'
If you go
What: The Closest Encounter | 50th Anniversary of Pascagoula's Alien Abduction of 1973
When: October 20, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Delmas Avenue, downtown Pascagoula
Do you have a story idea? Contact Brian Broom at 601-961-7225 or email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Toast the 50th anniversary of Pascagoula alien abduction at this fest