Believers to gather for UFO festival
A HISTORY of UFO and other peculiar sightings has turned Cardwell into a haven for believers who feel at ease discussing their interest.
The town, 183km south of Cairns, is host to the annual UFO Festival this weekend and is famed for the Cardwell Lights, UFOs emerging from the ocean, yowie sightings and a large black cat in the mountains.
Head volunteer Nic Zymaras said the festival gave people with an interest in science fiction and the paranormal an outlet to share their passions without fear of ridicule.
"What attracted me to the UFO Festival was the C-Files, which is a forum where people can get together and share what they've seen," he said.
"What we find is that people are always slow to start because they're afraid of what others might say, but once it's going and they start getting more comfortable talking, you find a lot of them actually have similar stories."
Mr Zymaras lives in Cairns, but since visiting the first festival as a participant, he has put his all into volunteering, designing logos, putting up signs and manning the information tent.
"It's a very family-friendly weekend, everything's very light so even if you're not a diehard UFO fan, there's still plenty of fun things to see and do," he said.
Originally one of 10 events thrown together in 2014 to celebrate the township recovery after Cyclone Yasi, the festival has taken on a life of its own.
Organiser Thea Ormonde said it bettered events such as the Cardwell Planes, Trains and Automobiles Show and the Sacred Moon Festival to become the town's most popular festival largely due to the history the region has with the paranormal.
"I came up with it because at the time everyone was talking about the Cardwell Lights, which a local businessman had put up a video of on Youtube and everyone was talking about them," she said.
"The Cardwell Lights are two lights that can be seen from the shore which run parallel with each other and then shoot off into the air.
"People have been seeing them since as far back as the 1920s and still see them to this day.
"The last report we had was three months ago. Since starting the festival, I've been asking people to send any sightings to me so we can keep a record of them."
The festival starts tomorrow. The first main event, the Alien Invasion Party on the foreshore, is from 5pm.
To download a full program of the festivities, vist the festival's website.