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Roswell cashing in on UFO craze

By TIM KORTE

Associated Press writer
...ROSWELL (AP) -- Vendors hawked alien slime, alien embroys, T-shirts plastered with alien visages and other out-of-this-world knicknacks today to the souvernir-starved in this UFO-hungry town.
...A caption on T-shirts for sale at the Roswell Convention Center say: "I crashed on Earth and all I got was this crappy T-shirt."
...Besides the T-shirts, Russel Seifert of Los Angeles was selling "bio-lab" reptillian and alien embryos that he fabricated from liquid plastic urethane. The 6-inch fake embryos--$30 each -- float in jars containg either orange or green liquid.
..."I do this as a hobby, knid of on the side," said Seifert, who does makeup effects for a movie company.
...He also was selling -- $30 each -- a Roswell road kill wall ornament showing a little gray alien with a tire track running across its belly as it lays across a sign.
...Stella Champman of Roswell was selling "Roswell Alien Slime" during the UFO exposition at the convention center.
...She said the slime comes from a top-secret formula that makes it bounce and stretch. And it comes in different colors.
..."It's material like the stuff that was found on the space ship, "she joked about flying saucer that supposedly crashed near Roswell in 1947 and is the inspiration for this southern New Mexico's UFO fest.
..."No matter what you do with it (the slime), it will all come back together," Ms. Champman said.
...And for the properly dressed: a bolo tie festooned with an alien head.
...Souvenir sales at the Roswell UFO Encounter '97 have soared like the temperatures.
...The souvenir sales soared like the thermonmeter at the 50th anniversary celebration of the alleged alien encounter known as the Roswell Incedent.
...As temperatures topped 100 degrees for the secound straight day Wednesday, stores were selling out of such items as pinatas, a Hispanic Christmas tradition that perhaps recalled cooler times -- only these were alien pinatas.
..."We're primarily an Indian gallery but with the UFO festival going on, we've added a lot to the store." said Michael Amador, the shopkeeper at the Apache Gallery, "We also sell Mexican imports, so we had a friend make the pinatas."
...A group of promotional dummies made to resemble aliens sat in a weathered Jeep in front of the gallery. These five aliens, each about 4 feet tall, were supposed to represent the five spacemen who purportedly crashed northwest of here in July 1947.
...But with their costumes and headgear -- including cowboy hat and chaps, a feathered Indian war bonnet, a military camouflage uniform and a sombrero -- they were more reminiscent of the Village People pop music group.
...By noon Wednesday, Amador said the store had sold about 50 of its 250 alien pinatas a $7.95 each. ...As he spoke, tourists paraded along the sidewalks and the mercury climbed to 101. according to the National Weather Service. It had been 105 Tuesday.
...In Roswell, alien designs are everywhere. There are alien T-shirts, alien mannequins, alin guitar picks.
...Michelle Watts, who co-owns the Quilt Talk fabric store, wore a sleeveless mindress and wiremesh vest made with her copyrighted "fabric from outer space," a black-based print pattern showing silvery space aliens and maps of New Mexico with Roswell highlighted.
..."I'm weird, I look at everything in relation to 'Can you make a quilt or sew with it or make something interesting out of it.' This is interesting, "It's a woven (fabric) from outer space. It definitely won't unravel."
...The fabric has already sold out, but the store is taking orders.
...Down the street at the International UFO Museum and Research Center, guests browsed through exhibits on, among other things, crop circles, abduction stories and the Air Forc's Project Mogul, a 1940s effort to monitor Soviet nuclear testings.
...Military officials say it was a top-secret experimental spy ballon from that project -- and not a UFO -- that crashed near Roswell in Jully 1947.
...Joyce Kiess, who greets each guest at the museum's door, says 2,067 visitors entered Tuesday, the first official day of the celebration, and the number was expected to rise daily, as the week continued. Most visitors were from Texas and California with some from as far away as Vermont.
...Some visitors believed the UFO story. Most, like 7-year-old Colby Kraft of Bradford, PA, were just having a good time. Asked if he believed in space aliens, Colby shrugged and smiled.
..."I don't know," he said.
...Added Jason York 19, of Amarillo, Texas: "I know something happened. I'm just not sure what."
...Festival organizers said several hotel rooms became available Wednesday when a television production company cancelled plans to cover the event.
...But there was still overflow. Representatives of some news outlets were housed at a retirement center.
..."So obviously, ther's a need for rooms," said publicist Tom Garrity.

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...7/3/97


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