The History of the Fyffe, Alabama UFO Sightings and the Purpose of the UFO Days Festival

Pamela Gifford
It was Friday, February 11, 1989. That was the first sighting. The second sighting occurred the following night on Saturday, February 12, 1989. In those two nights in the small town of Fyffe, Alabama, with a population of less than 2,000, over 50 people called the police department to report strange lights and shapes in the sky.

The police chief at the time, Junior Garmany, responded to the call with the assistant police chief (now Fyffe councilman) Fred Works. They chased the lights, following them outside of the city limits and at one point, the object hovered overhead.

Some witness reports stated that the object was banana shaped that "hovered at an angle from 1 o'clock to 7 o'clock with bright lights at the top and bottom and a real bright light at the center. The curvature was outlined in green with a real bright light in the center." Other witness reports stated that it was triangular in shape and even at close range, no sound emitted from it.

The media attention this received was immediate. Neither the airports, air force base, the national weather service, nor the space flight center had any explanation for the sightings. And with as many credible witnesses to the sightings as there were, the world descended upon my hometown with skeptics criticizing and believers flocking. I was only 10 years old but I remember having a t-shirt with a yellow banana-shaped UFO on it that read, "I survived the Fyffe UFO". My grandfather, neither a skeptic nor a believer, was nevertheless intrigued with the possibility of seeing something such as what was described. He and I set off on an adventure together that weekend, riding the back roads with me looking up toward the sky in search of strange lights. It ended the first night with me giving up in boredom and falling asleep in the backseat. The second night, we headed into the main part of Fyffe, which, to everyone's surprise was crowded to the brim with spectators hoping for a glimpse of something possibly otherworldly.

There was no disputing that the credible witnesses, including the police officers, saw something unexplainable. As a matter of fact, it was so believable that the state legislature made Fyffe the official UFO capital of Alabama ib April 13, 1989.

Under former Mayor Larry Lingerfelt, the UFO (Unforgettable Family Outing) Days Festival began in 2005 as a way of remembering that very pivotal time in Fyffe's history. It was also brought about as a way of giving families an inexpensive way to go out and have fun together. As the sightings themselves drew a crowd to Fyffe, now so does the festival, having become one of the biggest and best festivals of DeKalb County and Sand Mountain.

And you can still see flying objects even over 20 years after the original sightings. They are the hot air balloons that have become a vital part of the festivities over the years.

Even though UFOs and aliens are a great theme and premise for the festival, the celebration has less to do with outer space and more to do with coming together as a community and family togetherness.

Sources: Fyffe UFO Days 2009 printed program, email from former Mayor Larry Lingerfelt, ;


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  • Pamela Gifford8/19/2010

    I am aware of the error in the article; for some reason it won't correct itself so please overlook.

  • Cicely Richard8/15/2010

    I think I've heard of this festival. I think I saw something on Discovery Channel.

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