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Earthling visitors dwindling at Area 51 events in Nevada desert

A satirical internet event dubbed "Storm Area 51" had a couple of small Nevada towns preparing for a flood of visitors this weekend, but officials now say the crowds of UFO enthusiasts has peaked at just 3,000.

More than 2 million people had signed up to 'Storm Area 51'

Revellers gather at the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event 'Alienstock' on Sept. 20 in Rachel, Nev. The event is a spinoff from the original 'Storm Area 51' Facebook event which jokingly encouraged participants to charge the famously secretive Area 51 military base in order to 'see them aliens'. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A satirical internet event dubbed "Storm Area 51" had a couple of small Nevada towns preparing for a flood of visitors this weekend, but officials now say the crowds of UFO enthusiasts has peaked at just 3,000.

One evening music program inspired by the viral Facebook post was cancelled in Hiko, Nev., on Saturday. Lincoln County emergency services chief Eric Holt said first-responders from around the state were sent home.

No one knew how many people would arrive in response to the internet meme calling on visitors to storm the gates of a military base long the focus of conspiracy theories about extraterrestrials. Local officials had prepared for up to 30,000.

The spinoff event "Alienstock" at the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, Nev., was due to continue until midnight, but the audience was sparse.

"Area 51 Basecamp" in Hiko pulled the plug Saturday after drawing just 500 attendees at a Friday music event planned for 5,000.

Alien dolls are displayed at the Little A'Le'Inn during the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event 'Alienstock' on Sept. 21 in the Nevada desert town of Rachel. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Organizer Keith Wright said campers could stay until Sunday.

Wright said the Hiko events at the George Harris' Alien Research Center have racked up a financial loss.

It's estimated that fewer than 200 people turned up at the gates of the once-secret U.S. Air Force base between the two towns early Saturday.

More than 2 million people had signed up to "Storm Area 51," answering an invitation to meet and "see them aliens" at the base, which conspiracy theorists claim holds evidence of extraterrestrials.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said about 20 people broke from among revellers and the curious at the Rachel gate to Area 51 early Friday and rushed forward, but stopped short.

 

With files from CBC News