BOWMAN — In an out of the way small town in Bowman is a unique welcome to visitors from out of state — or out of this world — in the UFO Welcome Center, a unique roadside attraction in the Palmetto State.
Built in the backyard of local resident Jody Pendarvis beginning in 1994 and charging a $1 entry fee, the structure that was built to welcome visitors from other galaxies has become an attraction for Earth bound regular folks.
Since the early days of Pendarvis’ vision, the cost of admission has increased to $20 and has gained quite a reputation.
The saucer itself consists of a 42-foot wide flying saucer constructed with wood, fiberglass, and plastic with the structure entered by a powered ramp.
The structure is mounted on four columns which are designed to raise and lower by a mechanical motorized system and the interior is a maze of electronic parts but also includes a bed, satellite TV, air conditioning, and restroom facilities including a shower.
When the project was being developed Pendarvis intended for it to serve as a facility where aliens travelling great distances could rest and he envisioned himself as an ambassador to the stars of sorts.
In 2003 a second 20-foot saucer was added to the upper portion of the structure and according to one local the speculation is “so the aliens can take him with them when they come.”
Pendarvis recognizes the saucer is far from perfect and admitted as much:
“It looks like a barn,” he stated. “But I had to take all the real instruments out so you wouldn’t see what the future age of space travel looks like.”
Research shows the town of Bowman has not been as welcoming to Pendarvis and his welcome center for space travelers as he would be to little grey men, having inspected and issued up to 10 summonses for its not meeting code, but research shows Pendarvis doesn’t seem to be too worried about it.
In a previous interview Pendarvis, Ambassador to the galaxy, when speaking on the local regulations and the UFO’s violations, said:
“They came around and inspected, wrote me up for about ten violations. But it’s regulation for the aliens — not for Bowman.”
Although there are no regular hours, during the summer if you arrive before lunch there’s a good chance you can take the tour and see it for yourself, taking in the exhibit which has appeared on such shows as The Daily Show with Stephen Colbert, a native of South Carolina.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355