Little green men and big cold beers

Something unusual happened near McMinnville, Ore., during the early evening hours of May 11, 1950.

Evelyn Trent was outside feeding her rabbits when she noticed a disc-shaped object hovering in the sky. She called out for her husband, Paul, who was able to take two pictures of it. When the film was developed, several weeks later, word of the sighting made its way to local media.

Before long, the story had spread nationwide. Many publications deemed the pictures to be the first authentic UFO evidence published. And now, more than 50 years later, the story lives on with McMenamins’ Hotel Oregon’s 4th Annual UFO Festival, the second largest gathering of its kind in the nation.

Believers, skeptics and party-seekers alike will converge in McMinnville from May 8-10 to immerse themselves in all that is related to the phenomenon of the unidentified flying object. Events range from talks by nationally renowned experts to an alien costume ball. (See sidebar for complete schedule.)

“People are there to have fun,” said McMenamins’ marketing director Renee Rank. “You get people dressed up in crazy outfits, which makes it all the better. But you get those who are more serious, too.”

Among the highlights of the festival will be well-known nuclear physicist and “ufologist” Stanton Friedman, who will deliver the keynote address. In addition to lecturing for the past 35 years, Friedman has written hundreds of papers and articles, and appeared on several TV shows, including “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Larry King Live.”

“He has been referred to as the Elvis Presley of the UFO world,” said Amber Lindsey, copy editor for the McMenamins’ marketing department.

Also featured will be Peter Robbins, columnist for UFO Magazine and editor-in-chief of, who will host an alien abduction workshop.

“The speakers are respected in their field,” Lindsey said. “It really adds an air of legitimacy to the event to have these guys here.”

The 4th Annual UFO Festival takes place Thursday, May 8, through Saturday, May 10, at McMenamins’ Hotel Oregon, 310 N.E. Evans St., in McMinnville. For more information, visit

Fun fact: According to the Oregon UFO Review, there have been 12 reported UFO sightings in the state this year.