There was a time when the little community of Kelly wanted the world to forget the UFO story that rocketed there on a hot August night in 1955.
Apparently, time heals a lot of wounds.
That’s why, on Aug. 20, the town will embrace aliens in costumes and other forms of UFO entertainment for Kelly’s first Little Green Men festival. The organizers hope to make it an annual festival.
“I’m getting calls from New Mexico. I’m getting calls from South Carolina — from all over the country,” said Frank Brown, a Kelly resident and chief festival promoter.
The festival will celebrate the story of an alien spaceship landing at a Kelly farmhouse on Aug. 21, 1955. On that night, the family of Glennie Lankford reported to police in Hopkinsville that a dozen or so little men had surrounded their house after landing in a spaceship.
The story ignited news coverage, and soon the purported aliens were being called the Kelly Green Men or Little Green Men. The family had actually described the aliens as silver. But green and Kelly were an irresistible match, and they became the Little Green Men of Kelly.
For many years, Lankford and her relatives avoided reporters and declined interviews. One of her sons, Lonnie Lankford, granted his first interviews in 2005. He told the New Era his family never made any money off the story and wondered why so many others had profited from his family’s embarrassment. He attended a 50th anniversary festival in Hopkinsville and shared his memories of the night his mother seemed terrified of aliens outside their house.
The festival planned in Kelly will included southern rock and country bands on a stage, plus food and arts and crafts booths.
A 1955 baking contest and a Little Green Men costume contest are planned.
The day will conclude with the Glennie Lankford Outdoor Gospel Sing.
Geraldine Sutton Stith will sign copies of her book, “Alien Legacy.” Stith’s father, the late Elmer “Lucky” Sutton, was among the witnesses who said they fired gunshots at the aliens in 1955.
Organizers have launched a Facebook page and website, www.kellygreenmen.com, to tell the world about their festival.
Reach Jennifer P. Brown at 270-887-3236 or email@example.com.