Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com[/caption] by Olivia Fuller UW News Lab The Burien community decked out in aluminum helmets and Men in Black suits for the third annual Burien UFO Festival on Wednesday night (April 1). The Burien UFO Festival invaded the streets of Olde Burien on Wednesday for an evening of extraterrestrial inspired activities, including a costume contest, a short film festival, and a funeral for Spock complete with a coffin and eulogy. The annual festival started as a way to increase support in the community for the short film, “The Maury Island Incident,” during its initial stages of production in 2013. The film tells the true story of Harold Dahl and his alleged encounter with a UFO in 1947 over Puget Sound. This year’s festival marked the third time that police blocked off SW 152nd Avenue between Ninth Avenue Southwest and 10th Ave SW for the event. Though the BUFO began as a community event to promote the production of “The Maury Island Incident,” event creator and Executive Producer of the film John White says the festival is shifting its focus. “I decided that I want to use my skills to promote Burien,” said White. White wants BUFO to serve the community by promoting the town of Burien and its local businesses. “I’m an elder, and as you get older you want to serve the community that you’re in,” said White. “I love serving the community. It gives me back a part of my identity that I lost from years in the corporate world.” This year’s event resembled the past BUFOs by hosting crowds of people dressed as everything from Men in Black to galactic princesses. This year’s short film festival showcased 5- to 7-minute videos by local filmmakers about extraterrestrial encounters. Local resident Chris Swonson tried his hand at filmmaking for the first time for the festival, spending months creating and perfecting his short film. “It was a lot harder than I thought that it would be,” said Swonson. “I came up with the idea in January and we didn’t finish it until it was due a few days ago. But I’m already thinking of ideas for part two for next year.” In addition to entertaining the spectators and offering the winners cash prizes, the film festival also served as community promotion by giving local businesses some screen time. Each film was required to incorporate at least three local businesses and be set in Burien. Event planner Renatta Emerson noticed how businesses are increasing their interest in involvement each year. “Now that [the local businesses] have seen it, they start asking how they can get involved,” said Emerson. “It gets easier to get them involved every year.” The costume contest also got a makeover this year, as participants strutted across the stage in a fashion show complete with music and announcers. One of the announcers, local fashion designer and seamstress Erin Weathers, hopes that she can improve the fashion show in years to come by using her skills as a designer. “Next year I hope that I can kick the fashion show up a notch,” said Weathers, “like finding designers to put stuff together for it.” For 52-year Burien resident Rob Johnson, coming out to support his community is a priority. Being able to wear his hand-made alien costume that he created specifically for BUFO is a bonus. “I’m a cephalapod,” said Johnson, sporting a skirt of floor-length tentacles. “They’re the aliens in ‘Galaxy Quest.’ I put it together special just for this.” In the last three years, White thinks the people of Burien have made one thing very clear. “People,” said White, “just love to dress up as aliens.” Here are videos and photos by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com (click images to see larger versions/slideshow): [youtube]https://youtu.be/T0_c_qXy4tk[/youtube] [youtube]https://youtu.be/_5hAFdAkBYA[/youtube] Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com A total of 43 people (and 1 animal) entered the costume contest. Here are the winners: Best Man in Black: Tom Lane: MIB Winner Best Spock: Brandon White: Spock Winner Best Spock’s Wife: Taffee Cardenas-Scherer: Spocks Wife Winner Best Women in Black: Shari Graham & Kallie Mitchell: WIB Winner Best Pet: Delft: Pet Winner Which was your favorite? Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com Photo by Michael Brunk / nwlens.com]]>