"No, we're not going to do any storming. I think the people that had it in their system already tried and got shut down. The state security are shutting down that road. It's more about a gathering of like-minded people, having fun, sharing stories and hopefully seeing some of those UFOs they see out here all the time."
9. Music stage under construction
10. Worker pounds metal stakes securing stage
11. Men hoist tarp over the stage
12. Burton guides tarp over top of stage
Hiko, Nevada - 19 September 2019
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Jay Dugan, Alienfest Attendee (from New York City):
"I think it's going to be pretty cool. I think most people who are into this kind of thing are kind of laid back and open-minded. It's not going to be one of those events where you see bad things happen. I think it's going to be one of those things where people are just looking to have fun. People that came out here are committed. I flew six hours."
Visitors descending on the remote Nevada desert for "Storm Area 51" are from Earth, not outer space.
No one knows what to expect, but small towns about two hours from Las Vegas near the once-secret military research site are preparing for an influx of people over the next few days.
The area of scenic mountains and rugged desert is home to a combined 50 thousand people.
That population could double this weekend.
Neighbors, elected officials and event organizers said the craze sparked by an internet joke inviting people to "see them aliens" might become a cultural marker, a monumental dud or something in between.
Area 51′s secrecy has long fueled fascination about extraterrestrial life, UFOs and conspiracy theories, giving rise to the events this week and prompting military warnings not to approach the protected site.
Events starting Friday include the "Area 51 Basecamp" featuring music, speakers and movies in the town of Hiko and an "Alienstock" music festival in the tiny town of Rachel.
Though the creator of the Facebook event later called it a hoax, the overwhelming response sent local, state and military officials scrambling.
Elected officials signed emergency declarations after millions of people responded to the Facebook post this summer.
Officials expect cellular service to be overwhelmed. The nearest gas station is 45 miles away.
Campers could encounter overnight temperatures as low as 41 degrees.
The Federal Aviation Administration closed nearby air space this week.
The U.S. Air Force has issued stern warnings for people not to approach the gates of the Nevada Test and Training Range, where Area 51 is located.
Festival organizers say attendees are not interested in actually storming Area 51 but say thousands of alien enthusiasts are expected to gather to enjoy UFO stories, music and culture.