Jun 14, 2023 - Things to Do

"Tongue-in-cheek" fun at Des Moines' Men in Black Birthday Bash

Three people dressed in black suits at the Men in Black Birthday Bash in Washington state.

Men in Black Birthday Bash attendees trying to explain the inexplicable. Photo: Meiling Sproger

The second annual Men in Black Birthday Bash (MIBBB), commemorating the 1947 reported sighting of unidentified flying objects over Maury Island and the subsequent appearance of a mysterious and threatening visitor dressed in black, begins next Thursday.

Driving the news: The party begins on June 22 at exactly 6:22pm at the Quarterdeck at the Des Moines Marina. Dress as Men (or people) in Black or in black-and-white attire.

Why it matters: Meant to be tongue-in-cheek fun, the event grew out of a legitimate resentment that Roswell, New Mexico, got the lion's share of attention in UFO legend while Puget Sound's "interesting and infamous story got kicked to the curb," organizer Steve Edmiston told Axios.

  • For 10 years it was a private "burning saucer" party that's been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not, but it just kept growing, he said.

Catch up quick: The celebration commemorates the June 1947 alleged sighting of unidentified flying objects in the sky over Maury Island by two people who later reported threats made by a mysterious visitor dressed in black, according to the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber's retelling.

  • 1947 was dubbed the "year of the flying saucer" because thousands of UFO incidents were reported worldwide, including another local sighting by aviator Kenneth Arnold, who allegedly saw nine UFOs near Mount Rainier traveling in formation.

Details: Among the weekend activities are a film festival on Friday featuring short films about the unexpected and unresolved as well as:

  • An evening of Frank Sinatra-style swing by Joey Jewell and the Swingin’ Sixties Orchestra at the Des Moines Yacht Club on Saturday.
  • A summer saucer search that runs from today through Sunday in which participants have five days to find 10 clues scattered throughout Seattle's Southside cities.

For more information about all the events, see the MIBBB website. For tickets, click here.


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