In June of 1947, Idaho-based pilot Kenneth Arnold flew out of the Chehalis Airport toward his home and, ultimately, an unforgettable sight that turned the entire nation’s eyes toward the sky. Shortly into his flight, Arnold witnessed what he described as nine “flying discs” moving at startling speeds in a chain formation above Mineral, WA. Arnold’s report gave birth to the term “flying saucer,” which became a pop culture sensation. This historic event is the original inspiration behind the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party, a weekend-long festival that first launched in 2019. For four years, eventgoers have descended upon downtown Chehalis to celebrate this event and the generations of subsequent stories that continue to thrill and intrigue.
The Chehalis Flying Saucer Party took flight shortly after Executive Director Jason Mattson joined the Lewis County Historical Museum. Mattson partnered with Vince Ynzunza, producer of the web series, Pacific NorthWEIRD, to plan, coordinate, and produce the Flying Saucer Party. The goal is to celebrate some of the Pacific Northwest’s quirky history by increasing awareness of historic sightings and our small town’s mark on “UFOlogy” and modern culture. Mattson’s hope is that visitors “have fun and maybe learn something new, [whether they] believe it or not.”
Attendees, believers or otherwise, can enjoy a variety of events and wholesome shenanigans all day long. The event kicks off on Friday, September 22nd with the opening of the free “90’s UFO Craze” exhibit at the Lewis County Historical Museum. Beginning at 5:30 pm that evening, the Flying Saucer Film Festival will take up centerstage at McFilers Theater, featuring short films, cartoons, documentaries, and more. Tickets are $10. On Saturday, September 23rd return to downtown Chehalis for a full day’s worth of quirky activities and educational events. City Farm in downtown Chehalis will open its doors to the public at 9:30am so guests can browse vendors downstairs and listen to speakers upstairs with sessions at 10:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, and 5:00pm.
The Lewis County Historical Museum will continue welcoming visitors for free all day Saturday and will host the famed “Saucer Drop” at 12:00pm in the gazebo, where lucky visitors might catch their own flying discs as they rain down from the sky. Around the corner, McFilers Restaurant will offer free live music starting at 2:00pm with The Mystic Plowmen, The Space Whales at 4:00pm, followed by a costume contest and dance party hosted by KJ Wednezdey at 7:00pm. The McFilers Theater will host a showing of Friday’s winning film fest entry, followed by the classic ’96 comedy “Mars Attacks” at 2:00pm.
Admission to each speaker is $10 per person. Want to catch ALL the fun? VIP tickets can be purchased for $55 and include single entry to Friday’s film festival, all speakers, admission to “Mars Attacks,” a special event bracelet, T-shirt, poster, and a $10 coupon for use at McFilers restaurant. Full event details and itinerary can be found on The Chehalis Flying Saucer Party website. Proceeds from the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party go toward the museum. Other ways to support the museum include purchasing memberships and items from the gift shop, visiting and sharing about your experience, and volunteering. And don’t forget to follow The Chehalis Flying Saucer Party and Lewis County Historical Museum on Facebook for updates!