More than 3 million people RSVP for ‘Storm Area 51’ event on Facebook
Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo says if even 3,000 people show up to ‘Storm Area 51,’ it will put an enormous strain on the small town in Nevada.
If you're into aliens but not so keen on the "storming" part of that "Storm Area 51" Facebook event, there are plenty of alternatives waiting for you in Nevada.
Search traffic on the travel company GetYourGuide's website for Area 51-related activities has soared to 20 times its norm since the Internet joke exploded in popularity, Lauren Hillhouse, GetYourGuide's destination manager for Arizona and Nevada, told Fox News on Monday.
"I think they're looking for attractions, but what they are finding are tours," Hillhouse told Fox News.
Area 51 is popularly known as the site of conspiracy theories involving crashed alien spaceships and secret government studies. The "Storm Area 51" Facebook event went viral in July as people pledged to crash the secret military base in an attempt to "see them aliens" and has grown in scale in recent weeks. More than 3 million Facebook users have now said they are going, with 1.4 million replying they were interested.
In this April 10, 2002, photo, a vehicle moves along the Extraterrestrial Highway near Rachel, Nev., the closest town to Area 51.
(AP Photo/Laura Rauch, File)
In the months since the event went viral, two rural Nevada counties have drafted an emergency declaration, with local law enforcement planning to share resources with the state and neighboring counties ahead of Sept. 20-22 festivities
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Hillhouse said that Area 51 tours were not even considered top points of interest for Las Vegas-related trips until the Facebook event "exploded." She also recommends that visitors avoid heading into the rural area between Sept. 19 and 22, because anyone who is interested in visiting the vicinity should book a legit tour for a legit experience.
Feds warn alien hunters against storming Area 51
The campaign to ‘Storm Area 51’ is a viral phenomenon.
"Go through a verified source, do your research and be prepared for it," she told Fox News.
For anyone planning to make a last-minute trek to the area next weekend, Hillhouse recommends making Las Vegas your "home base," because even if a planned tour doesn't end up working out, there are still plenty of attractions in Sin City.
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GetYourGuide says that the Vegas area has over 150,000 hotel rooms that include a wide-range of "all-star levels" and price points, including a wide variety of restaurants and "out of this world" entertainment options.
Sign for Little A’Le’Inn and flying saucer hanging from tow truck, Rachel, Nevada, near Area 51.
For those determined to trek into the desert for that alien-hunter vibe, Hillhouse recommends traveling with a local expert. GetYourGuide offers an Area 51 full-day tour where guests are able to get picked up or dropped off at their Las Vegas hotel.
Will Tryon, the owner of Las Vegas Adventure Tours who operates GetYourGuide's Area 51 tour, told Fox News on Monday that his company won't be taking customers out into the area from Sept. 19-22 out of concern that things could "get difficult." One worry: Gas stations could run out of fuel.
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In his company's full-day tours, travelers head out along the infamous "Extraterrestrial Highway" to check out the scenic desert, Among the stops, the Little A'le'Inn, six-foot Indian petroglyphs that resemble aliens, and the perimeter of the military base — where there's no fear of arrest.
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As Facebook users prepare to ‘storm’ the top-secret Area 51 Military Base in Nevada, Annie Jacobsen, author of ‘Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base,’ dismissed the idea that civilians could even get close to the facility.
"For the enthusiasts, it's a pilgrimage," Tryon told Fox News. "It has such mystique about it."
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Interest in Area 51 has also caused two tiny desert towns to plan their own related events. The Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, Nev., planned an alien-themed festival on Sept. 20-22, originally dubbed "Alienstock," while the Alien Research Center souvenir shop in Hiko has planned a Sept. 20-21 expo dubbed "Storm Area 51" Basecamp.
The California man behind the viral "Storm Area 51" event on Facebook, however, announced Monday he severed ties with the inn and instead has chosen to take Alienstock to downtown Las Vegas the same weekend. There, events will be held in a "safe, clean secure area."
In this July 22 photo, alien-themed graffiti adorns a rock along the Extraterrestrial Highway, near Rachel, Nev.
(AP Photo/John Locher)
Alienstock's website has now been updated to focus on the "Area 51 Celebration Party," a free event — for those 21 and older. It'll be held at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 19 with a "classified" lineup of music.
"Instead of storming a government base, the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center is partnering with Collective Zoo and Bud Light to host an out-of-this-world evening with top-secret entertainment," the event website boasted. "Come in peace. We have everything you need to make this celebration one to remember."
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Other Las Vegas-based groups are planning their own events in Sin City.
"The Great Area 51 Bar Crawl" is on tap for the Freemont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, 3-9 p.m. on Sept. 21. "You can wear an alien bodysuit. You can wear an alien hunter costume. You can pretty much do whatever you want — but it better be OUT OF THIS WORLD!" the event's website said.
For a tamer experience, the Happy Earth Market in Las Vegas is planning an Alien Bazaar from 4-9 p.m. that same Saturday that promises to have alien karaoke, live music and a "mystery box raffle."
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