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Kecksburg to host UFO festival, creature-encounters conference

| Thursday, July 19, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

The 2012 Kecksburg Old Fashioned Days & UFO Festival will be held July 28-29 at the fire department's festival grounds in Kecksburg, Mt. Pleasant Township.

The seventh-annual festival was founded by the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department. The two-day event will feature a parade, a classic-cars show and the famous Burn Out Contest.

Prizes will be awarded for the best UFO entry in the parade, as well as for the best alien costume. New this year will be contests for the Best UFO Alien Pet Costume and Best UFO Motorcycle.

On July 29, the popular "Out of This World UFO" hot dog-eating contest will take place at 1 p.m. Also on July 29, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., the Kecksburg UFO Committee will host its second-annual Kecksburg UFO Conference "Mysterious Pennsylvania UFO and Creature Encounters." The conference is free, but a donation at the door is appreciated to support the Kecksburg VFD.

The 2012 Kecksburg speakers lineup:

• Stan Gordon, author and UFO-Bigfoot researcher. Gordon is the principal investigator of the 1965 Kecksburg UFO incident. He will speak about "Strange Encounters of Pennsylvania." The illustrated discussion will focus on the history of UFOs, Bigfoot and other strange creatures reported across the state, including recent incidents.

• John Ventre, author and Pennsylvania state director for the Mutual UFO Network. Ventre will talk about his recent appearance on the "Anderson Cooper" television talk show. Ventre will discuss UFOs and how the Cooper program was edited.

• Eric Altman, director of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society. He will talk about past and present Bigfoot encounters reported in Pennsylvania.

• Dave Dragosin, assistant director of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society for Western Pennsylvania. Dragosin will discuss the implication of forensic sketches in relation to Bigfoot investigations.

During the two-day festival, various Pennsylvania UFO, Bigfoot and paranormal researchers and groups will set up displays in the social hall. Those who are expected to attend -- in addition to Gordon, Altman, Ventre and Dragosin -- include Dan Hageman, director of the Butler Organization of the Unexplained; Brian and Terrie Seech of the Center for Unexplained Events; Keith Bastianini, UFO researcher and graphics artist; Jim Brown, of Brown Electronics Lab-Independent Research Associates; and Joe Kosczuk of Westmoreland Paranormal Investigations.

Kecksburg is about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The rural community has become a location of international interest after a mysterious object reportedly fell from the sky into a nearby wooded area on Dec. 9, 1965. What the metallic, acorn-shaped object with strange hieroglyphics-like symbols might have been still being debated. The military that arrived on the scene that night apparently recovered the device and hauled it away.

The Kecksburg festival will be held on the VFD festival grounds at 5128 Water St., Kecksburg. For more information and details of events, visit at www.kecksburgvfd.com or www.stangordon.info or call 724-423-9540.

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