A few years back, my wife, son, and I had plans to travel upstate to go to the Pine Bush UFO Fair with my cousin Cheryl and her husband, John. I had long-known about the UFO flaps of the 1980s in the area (and in fact, all up and down the Hudson River Valley), from books like Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings by Dr. J. Allen Hyneck, Philip J. Imbrogno, and Bob Pratt. Sadly, the festival that year was rained out due a terrible storm that left the town (and festival) without power, and we were unable to make the rain date. We still haven’t made it there, with subsequent years proving difficult for us to get away, and this year, the festival has been postponed to Labor Day Weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic. But I really do hope to get there someday, especially with this news that a permanent museum is in the works for the area.
PINE BUSH – The Town of Crawford is looking to make part of the annual hamlet UFO Fair into a permanent, year-round fixture with a paranormal museum and haunted house.
To do this, the town is looking to purchase a building, at fair market value, and revamp it to include the museum about unidentified flying objects, with a regional focus, as well as a youth center and a seasonal haunted house, said Domanie Ragni, the town’s director of community services, small business and tourism. The ticket price for the project is expected to be less than $500,000. The town plans to apply for grants to help fund the project.
Now, given the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic, is the best time to launch this idea, Ragni said.
“Even though we’re in a time when it might be a little scary to make an investment, the small businesses and Main Street need help right now. …,” Ragni said. “After something like this happens that gets everybody down, (some people) want to go out and have entertainment and do the fun stuff.”
Crawford Supervisor Charles Carnes said the town is waiting on its second-quarter financial results before making an official decision on whether to go ahead with the idea. He expects those results in July.
“The second quarter was when everything got shut down,” Carnes said. “That’s what we’re waiting on.”
Last year, the annual UFO Fair had more than 10,000 participants for a one-day celebration, Ragni said. The town hopes to keep the momentum going, this year making it into a two-day weekend with the hopes that attendees will stay overnight and spend more money locally.
Known as the UFO capital of the world, the hamlet has, since the ’80s, had many reported Unidentified Flying Object sightings. Troves of tourists from around the world come to Pine Bush’s Main Street to visit businesses and booths, and bond over otherworldly fascinations with games, pop-up street performances, and paranormal speakers and authors.
It’s a quirky tradition that has lived on for a decade, counting this year.
The 10th annual UFO Fair in the hamlet was pushed from June to Labor Day weekend due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But if safety and health recommendations indicate the town should not hold such a large scale event this year, it will be postponed to 2021.
If the out-of-this-world fair does go on, the same key features, like the space prom and speakers, are expected to return Sept. 4-5, with added events requested year-after-year by attendees, Ragni said.
Personally, I think a UFO museum in Pine Bush is a great idea, and reminds me a lot of the annual Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The Mothman Festival is usually a huge affair, thanks in large part to their museum.