There's a lot of events across western Kentucky happening in the days leading to the 'Great Eclipse. One of them: the Kelly Little Green Men Days Festival in Christian County, celebrating a reported alien sighting more than six decades ago. The anniversary of the sighting just happens to fall on the day of the eclipse.
The day August 21st has a lot of meaning here in Kelly. It was on that day nearly 62 years ago that a family reportedly saw 'Little Green Men' near their home. It will be on August 21st of this year that both the Great Eclipse will fall on the same day as the last day of the festival marking that sighting will happen.
"Two things Kelly is known for are the trains, and the 'Little Green Men,'' says Joann Smithey of the Kelly Community Organization, the festival's organizers.
The trains passing through Kelly are a common sighting. But in a week and a half, a rare sighting, and a festival celebrating an even rarer one, are coming together in a cosmic coincidence.
"It's weird. Kind of strange that it's happening on the same day," says Eric Maxie of Kelly.
The great eclipse happens on the last day of the festival, which celebrates the story of the 'Kelly Invasion', where a family claimed to see short creatures around their home, while they were getting water. A nearly four hour shootout followed, with family members claiming they shot at the creatures to defend themselves from an invasion.
"It's believable," Maxie says.
"I was out walking down the road going for an evening walk, and one of my neighbors told me, 'You shouldn't be walking out at night, the 'Green Men' are going to get you.' And I said, 'Stop,'" Smithey adds, recalling a conversation with another resident months after she moved to town. Smithey says organizers spent the past three years preparing for this year's edition. It averages about 3,000 people a year. Smithey says there are few who believe the eclipse will mark the green men's return, but whether they, or the eclipse, are seen, it will be a cosmic coincidence to remember.
"We have green men costumes. You can have your picture taken with them. If little E.T.s start running around the field, we'll enter them in the contest," she says.
Festival organizers say at least 5,000 people could be down here on the last day of the festival for the eclipse.
(This story was originally published on August 11, 2017)
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