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Festivities under way in Rachel, NV at ‘Storm Area 51’

The Little A'Le'Inn was closed Thursday afternoon as hundreds gathered at Area 51. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

SALT LAKE CITY — A representative for two tiny towns in Nevada says they are ready for large crowds as the “Storm Area 51” event gets underway.

KSL NewsRadio’s Colby Walker visited Rachel, NV, on Thursday. He reported seeing campers, RVs, and sightseers along the way.

“The county was in a state of emergency and there were ambulances from Las Vegas, Reno and other places all in this little town.  There was a much larger law enforcement presence there, much more than usual,” Walker said.

“The stage was going up, port-a-potties already in place for the approximately 200 people already there Thursday afternoon,” reports Walker.

Walker says they had roads blocked off and that the Little A’Le’Inn, a gift shop, bar, and an inn, was closed.  About a dozen deputies lined the path to Area 51.  No problems were reported.

Walker says the sheriff of Lincoln Co., Kerry Lee, tells him he’s been impressed with everyone he’s encountered so far.

At one point, according to ABC News, 2 million people RSVP’d to the original Facebook event, saying they would attend.  Thursday night, the crowds in Rachel had yet to arrive in any significant numbers.

The people Walker spoke to Thursday came from all over, including Texas, Oklahoma, and France. Walker reported speaking with a media outlet from Australia that came to the event.  Walker spoke with one man who flew in from Florida. Walker says that man was excited about experiencing a once in a lifetime event.

The Storm Area 51 event is scheduled to begin at 3 a.m.  An event called “Alienstock” is running through Sunday in Rachel, a town of about 50 residents just over two hours north of Las Vegas.  Twenty musical acts, food vendors and souvenir sellers are expected.

The U.S. Air Force has issued stern warnings for people not to approach the gates of the Nevada Test and Training Range, where Area 51 is located.

Neighbors, elected officials and event organizers said the craze sparked by an internet joke inviting people to “see them aliens” might become a cultural marker, a monumental dud or something in between.