'UFO Welcome Center' Turns 25

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By Tim Binnall

Twenty-five years ago, a South Carolina man set out to create a place where aliens would feel comfortable landing here on Earth, leading to an unlikely local landmark known as the 'UFO Welcome Center.' In a newspaper piece profiling his odd achievement, Jody Pendarvis explained how he crafted the saucer-shaped site back in 1994 using a whopping eight tons of wood. Standing 16 feet tall and measuring 46 feet wide, the 'Welcome Center' has yet to roll out the red carpet for aliens, but has played host to curious visitors from throughout our own planet.

Featured on a number of television programs and in travel books devoted to curious roadside attractions, it would seem that the 'Welcome Center' is more than merely a work of art. That's because Pendarvis apparently envisions visiting ETs being able to make use of the homemade flying saucer as he left room in the design for five engines. Whether an advanced alien species arriving here on Earth would think it wise to commandeer a wooden spaceship is a matter of conjecture.

While the weird site has become something of an area institution in the South Carolina town of Bowman, not everyone has embraced the 'Welcome Center' with open arms. Attempts by Pendarvis to open the 'craft' up to the public have been rebuffed by government officials on a number of occasions due to safety concerns. The faux UFO also fell victim to ne'er-do-wells who broke into the 'flying saucer' back in 2017 and stole a flat screen TV contained inside the 'ship.'

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