How do you prepare for hordes of people who say they’re going to descend on your little town the weekend of Sept. 19- 21?
The residents of Rachel (population 54) don’t know, but they’re trying.
Connie West of the Little A’Le’Inn, the only restaurant in Rachel, said at the county commission meeting Aug. 5, the residents are “trying to be forward-looking,” in part by delegating 45 acres of land for RVs and campers.
The goal is to contain the crowd to certain areas rather than allowing people to wander at will.
West said various vendors will be providing food, souvenirs, water, etc. at the event. There will likely be any number of news media outlets as well.
County Building Director Cory Lytle said each vendor will have to purchase a temporary business license and pay a vendor fee. Food vendors will be expected to have a state license and health permit.
“Most of those,” West said, “will be coming out of Las Vegas and already have their license.”
She said because of the massive numbers rumored to be arriving in Rachel, the Little A’Le’Inn will be closed Sept. 20.
Other plans are being made to help manage the event, West said.
Lytle said even though the logistics are huge, he doesn’t want to complicate and regulate things so much that it will have later negative impacts on other county events such as the Fourth of July, Pioneer Days and Labor Day, etc.
“After this event is over, then we can take a close look and see what adjustments may need to be made for such large events.”
Lytle said he would not be surprised if there are attempts made to repeat this event each year.
West told commissioners Facebook had shut down anything to do with Storm Area 51. “Any contact I had on Facebook that had something to do with this event has been completely erased.”
USA News reported on Aug. 6, “Just as the hype seemed to have calmed down, over two million UFO enthusiasts found their Area 51 meme-filled page suddenly blocked by Facebook, under the pretext of ever-elusive ‘community standards’ violations. Spooked by the high volume of attendees, worried about the Las Vegas strip club’s pledge to bring its dancers to entertain the masses or offended by one of the thousands of memes posted by the community.”
The backup page set up by the organizers, West noted, was also wiped out.
However, the event page is now back up with Facebook telling news outlets they made an error in taking it down. Over two million people indicated they plan to attend the event and another 1.5 million have declared themselves interested.