Crowds for internet-fuelled event in low thousands, officials say, as man reported missing is found and a few tresspassers are arrested
The promoter of an event set up around the Storm Area 51 internet craze in the remote Nevada desert pulled the plug due to low attendance, but the host of a festival for several thousand people in the tiny town of Rachel said her show would go on.
Area 51 Basecamp organizer Keith Wright said that after drawing just 500 attendees at a Friday event planned for 5,000 at the Alien Research Center souvenir shop in Hiko, he had to pull the plug.
We put on a safe event for the people that showed up, Wright said. But we had to make the decision today because it costs tens of thousands of dollars to staff each day.
It was a gamble financially. We lost.
Several dozen campers still at the site could stay until Sunday, he added.
In Rachel, Little ALeInn owner Connie West said she was sad to hear the Hiko festival didnt succeed. In a voice hoarse from stress and lack of sleep, she said a noon-to-midnight slate of Alienstock event musical entertainment would continue for the several thousand revelers camping on her property and nearby federal land.
This is the most fabulous time, West said. Im just so grateful that people came. This is their event as much as it is mine.
Lincoln county sheriff Kerry Lee said it was pretty calm early on Saturday in Rachel and Hiko. In Nye county, Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said no one showed up at a main entrance and an auxiliary gate at the once-secret Area 51 US air force facility.
Wehrly revised to 100 each the number of people who appeared at each of those gates early on Friday near Amargosa Valley, a 90-minute drive west of Las Vegas.
Lee, about a two-hour drive north of Las Vegas, said revelers gathered until about 4am at two gates between Hiko and Rachel, and said about 20 people broke from among revelers and acted like they were going to storm but stopped short.
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