Normally when I think of “Weird Oregon” my mind immediately goes to Portland. The city is usually one of the weirdest in the country, holding all sorts of functions that are quite out of the ordinary like the World Naked Bike Ride or the Quiet Music Festival where people are encouraged to try and sleep. But for the past 20 years, on the weekend before Memorial Day, McMinnville takes the cake with the city’s annual McMenamin’s U.F.O. Festival.
Based on an encounter on May 11, 1950, where a farmer named Paul Trent snapped a couple of photographs of what appeared to be a flying disc over his rural Yamhill County property. After originally being published in the local newspaper, the McMinnville Telephone-Register, then The Oregonian as well as Life Magazine, the photos became associated with nearly any book about UFOs..
Then, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event, McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon held the first annual U.F.O. Festival for the city in May of 2000. For the past 20 years, the event has grown into the second-largest festival of its kind falling just short of the famed one held in Roswell, New Mexico. So for three days, McMinnville dons the moniker McMarsville and is transformed with presentations by renowned speakers & experts, movie screenings, radio broadcasts, vendor booths, live music, alien trivia, the Alien Abduction Dash fun run, pet costume contest, beer tastings, dining with speakers, and the Alien Costume Ball. However, the culmination of the three days, and where things really get fun, is the parade that makes its way through the town.