UFO fever

Six-year-old DJ Stypick, dressed as the Master Chief from the HALO video game series. DJ won first place in the children's cosplay contest.

When the Stypick family of Tennessee Colony left for the UFO festival in New Mexico last weekend, they went as skeptics. They returned with a new point-of-view, however, and many memories.

After visiting the museum and historical sites in town, John Stypick, 66, said his belief in life beyond the stars was solidified.

“I wouldn’t say I was a believer before, but I was always curious,” he said.  “After going to the museum, seeing the artifacts there; after talking with residents, and listening to the stories, I have to say, I’m a believer now. 

“There’s something out there.”

For three days, the annual UFO festival in Roswell celebrates the city’s infamous connection to little green men. This year's event drew 50,000 people.

In 1947, dozens of residents of this then-unknown small town witnessed an unidentified flying craft crash into the desert.  Initially unable, or unwilling, to explain the event, the U.S. Air Force eventually released an response: It was a weather balloon.

Some people, however, remained convinced the crash was extraterrestrial. An unwavering belief in the Roswell UFO has fueled the fun in the city’s annual celebration.

“It was our neighbor, Marios Mavroudis from Greece, who sparked the idea of going this year,” Sandy Stypick told the Herald-Press Wednesday.  “But this is something we’ve all been interested in doing for a long time.”

Prior to departing for the UFO capital of America, the Stypicks prepared for blastoff by creating elaborate and original costumes.

“My 6-year old grandson, DJ, dressed as his favorite video game character, the Master Chief  from HALO,” Sandy Stypick said.

“His father, my son Bill, wore a ‘Predapool’ costume – a cross between the movie characters of Predator and Deadpool.  His wife, Christy, played the blue alien diva from the movie, ‘The Fifth Element,’ and my husband, John, was Brett from the movie ‘Alien.’”

Many others were also in costume, but the Stypicks stole the show.

“People were coming up to the family in the mall, asking to take pictures with them,” Sandy Stypick said.  “Plus, at the costume contest, DJ won the prize for the best child’s costume. Bill’s costume won best overall.”

In addition to the costumes and parade, which DJ said topped the weekend, the much-debated crash site recently opened to the public.

“My son, Bill, went to see it,” John Stypick said.  “He said there were ruts in the ground you could make out, but that was about it.”