Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The believers are prepping their Naruto runs as multiple parties spring up around Area 51

Screenshot: KTNV (YouTube)

Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear: There are no aliens at Area 51. They were either transferred back when a stoned 21-year first announced his plans to storm the military facility back in June or freed into the desert this past Wednesday when the CIA declared the area a no-fly zone. Hell, maybe they’ve long been absent from the base—where, after all, did this little guy come from?

Still, considering viral memes are more powerful than cultural institutions these days, the parties spawned by the post will continue unabated. That’s even after the originator of this whole thing, 21-year old Matty Roberts, moved his planned Alienstock from Rachel, Nevada—a minuscule town near Area 51—to Las Vegas, saying he didn’t want to create a “a possible humanitarian disaster.” His Vegas event kicked off last night—it looks very, uh, Vegas-y—but according to Mashable, roughly 500 people had already arrived in Rachel on Thursday night to camp out in the area’s harsh conditions. And, some of them, it appears, still have designs on storming the actual base.

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Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee, per WKRN, said that around 150 people had made the journey to the Area 51 gates. “It’s public land,” he said. “They’re allowed to go to the gate, as long as they don’t cross the boundary.” The Air Force has made it clear that bad things could happen should they cross that boundary, Naruto run or no. Said sprints, however—mentioned in the original post and inspired by anime hero Naruto Uzumaki—are still getting honed in the desert.

For our money, though, it sounds like Hiko, Nevada is the place to be. The Alien Research Center is also hosting an event this weekend, one featuring EDM OG Paul Oakenfold and a screening of Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell’s Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers, which currently reigns as the best thing to stream Netflix while inhaling pot and Oreos at 2 a.m. Arby’s will also be there, because literally nothing is sacred.

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We might laugh now, but it won’t be long until historians begin studying how a meme spawned three individual festivals in a year where the most recognizable music festival of all time failed to stage a 50th anniversary event. The woman who earnestly says Alienstock could be “the Woodstock of our time” in this Mashable piece is onto something.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.