A Facebook hoax this summer invited people to “storm” Area 51 on Friday. Five people have been arrested since Thursday, mostly for trespassing. Meanwhile, thousands of others are celebrating their love of UFOs at a number of festivals in the Nevada desert.
The events have been mostly festive, with crowds numbering in the low thousands, officials said. Several minor injuries were reported, and one man was treated for dehydration by festival medics in Rachel before returning to the party.
While costumed space aliens were a common, dayglow, and sometimes hilarious sight, no one reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.
“There’s a great sense of community among everyone here,” said John Derryberry, who drove with his girlfriend, Sarah Shore, from Nashville, Tennessee.
“It started as a joke and now people are getting to know each other,” said Tracy Ferguson, 23, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He said the internet gave him the idea to drive to Nevada with his girlfriend, Jade Gore, 19, of Worthington, Minnesota.
Almost 100 people went at 3 a.m. Friday to the best-known “back gate” of the legendary former top-secret U.S. Air Force base, near the tiny town of Rachel, and another 40 made a more difficult trek to a lesser-known gate in Tikaboo Valley, Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said.