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Kecksburg continues to celebrate legend of 1965 UFO incident

| Thursday, July 26, 2018, 12:03 a.m.
A new T-shirt design for the upcoming feature film, “Kecksburg.”
A new T-shirt design for the upcoming feature film, “Kecksburg.”
Bob Gatty, formerly of Sykesville, is one of the speakers at the UFO Conference.
Bob Gatty, formerly of Sykesville, is one of the speakers at the UFO Conference.
There’s no sleeping on the job during the KVFD Bed Race at the Kecksburg UFO Festival.
There’s no sleeping on the job during the KVFD Bed Race at the Kecksburg UFO Festival.
A UFO Hotdog Eating Contest will be part of the fun at the Kecksburg UFO Festival July 27-29.
A UFO Hotdog Eating Contest will be part of the fun at the Kecksburg UFO Festival July 27-29.
A replica of “the thing in the woods” was part of a previous Kecksburg UFO Festival parade.
A replica of “the thing in the woods” was part of a previous Kecksburg UFO Festival parade.

Theories about UFOs, Bigfoot and paranormal activity will be in the air and on the big screen as part of the 13th Kecksburg UFO Festival July 27-29.

The annual festival sponsored by Kecksburg Fire Department and EMS includes a UFO conference at 1 p.m. July 29 that will call attention to an upcoming feature film, “Kecksburg,” about events that reportedly took place Dec. 9, 1965, when several people said an object resembling a UFO landed in Kecksburg.

Strange events a mystery

Strange events surrounding what happened to the object and why government officials dismissed it as a meteor are a mystery to people like Bob Gatty, a writer and former Greensburg Tribune-Review reporter who was on the scene during the incident.

Gatty, a former Sykesville resident now living with his wife in Myrtle Beach, S.C., will share his story about his experience 53 years ago at the festival, where a “sneak peek” of the movie will be shown.

“All these years there have been unanswered questions about what happened that night, even disagreements between friends in Kecksburg over what, if anything, occurred,” Gatty said. “They all deserve to know the truth.”

‘Kecksburg’ filming continues

“Kecksburg” currently is in production with a projected completion this fall, according to writer-director Cody Knotts.

“We are in the process of raising the rest of the money for the film,” he said. “We are selling tickets to the premiere at the festival along with T-shirts to raise money.”

Knotts said an open casting call for the role of John Murphy also will be held at the festival. Interested male actors ages 25-55 should come at noon to audition and bring a headshot and resume.

Film screenings

Screenings of two other recent movies filmed in the area will take place at the festival:

Aaron Dunbar, an author from Kittanning and producer of a 2018 family film about Bigfoot, titled “A Wish for Giants,” will give a presentation and show the movie at the UFO conference.

“Invasion on Chestnut Ridge,” a documentary about the Kecksburg incident and other strange encounters in the area, also will be screened. Seth Breedlove, an award-winning film maker and director of “Small Town Monsters,” produced the documentary.

Other conference speakers

Stan Gordon, UFO-Bigfoot researcher and author, will give an update on more recent area UFO, Bigfoot and Cryptid incidents.

Ed Kelemen, New Florence paranormal researcher and author, will discuss “Hauntings and Ghosts of Pennsylvania.”

The annual community event also will provide festival food, a parade, live music, fireworks, arts crafts, family games and activities.

Ron Struble, a fire department member, says one of the most popular festival features is the KVFD Bed Race at 4 p.m. July 28, in which participants pay a $10 entry fee to race their own bed or one of the fire company’s custom beds for a chance to win a cash prize.

Festivities include, on July 27, a corn hole tournament at 7 p.m.; on July 28, a parade at 2 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m., and on July 29, a hot dog eating competition at 12:30 p.m. and hay bale toss at 2 p.m.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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