It began as a joke on the internet - an invitation to storm the mythical Area 51 - to see aliens. The event will now take place on Friday, September 20.
More than two million people have accepted the invitation. And despite the playful tone, tens of thousands of people are expected to visit several of the small towns bordering the large desert area that makes up the Area 51 military base.Youtubers in prison
Whether the gatherings will only be a people's party or whether it will actually be a storming attempt is still unclear. The few roads leading into the Area 51 military base are rigorously guarded. The alternative is to travel several miles through the inhospitable Nevada desert.
In any case, the authorities take the idea of a storm seriously. Two Dutch youtubers were arrested this day by Nye County police when they entered the prohibited area in an attempt to visit Area 51. They were first sentenced to one year in prison, but the sentence was then converted to three days in jail and fined.
"It's important for us that these people get to spend time in prison and get tangible financial penalties," Chris Arabia, Nye County's district prosecutor, told CNN and continues:
- We take this type of crime very seriously. People must understand that we do not intend to let such nonsense pass unpunished.Plans to sue Facebook
Lincoln County is believed to pay a large portion of the costs that may arise when the expected crowd shows up. That's why Lincoln County says they plan to sue Facebook, the platform where the event spread, to recoup some of the costs.
A base has also been established for first responders, that is, a force that can act in the event of emergency situations, which include other emergency services.Festivals compete
Local magazines and news channels report on how hotels, souvenir shops and campsites are equipped to attract curious visitors. A beer brand has released a green-black special edition of its beer with an alien on the jar.
Two festival-like events are arranged in two different locations. Both are competing for the name "Alien stock" - which also the original event on Facebook has now been named. It will be offered entertainment and probably clear weather - the latter hopes some will increase the chances of seeing flying saucers.
Most of the visitors are still expected to come just to have fun. One of the festivals has set up scenes of the entrance to the military base so that visitors can take pictures of when they "storm" Area 51 without having to break the law.