MANITOWOC, Wisc. (WFRV) – With all the recent talk about UFOs, it seems like a good time to start planning for the return of Sputnikfest.

“I always tell people to think ray guns and flying saucers,” says Rahr-West Art Museum Executive Director Greg Vadney. “That’s what we’re going for with Sputnikfest. It’s a fun way to celebrate the completely odd thing that happened in Manitowoc.”

It was right in front of the museum back in 1962 that pieces of the Russian satellite Sputnik IV crashed down into the pavement.

At first, the officers who spotted the smoking metal weren’t quite sure what it was. Only after the arrival of the military and FBI did they realize a piece of the historic American-Russian space race had landed along’s Wisconsin’s lakeshore.

This year’s event is planned for Saturday, September 11, both inside and outside of the museum. Proceeds go to the museum which opened in 1950 and remains free to the public.

“So you can see this great, great art, national and international names,” added Vadney. “See a wonderful building that’s on the national historic register and you can find out more about Sputnik. This really, really crazy, unique thing that happened in Manitowoc in 1962.”

The museum announced two other major exhibits for July.

Sunday, July 11, marks the opening of The Manitowoc Cabinet through September 5. It’s a commissioned studio art furniture piece. Created by local artists in 2018 and features woodcarving by Patrick Burke, still life painting by David Carpenter, cabinetmaking by Randy Sahli, and finishing by Julie Gunderson. The display intends to honor the legacy and artisanship of the community while representing the skill of contemporary local art.

July 30th marks the opening of Really Big Prints which features large-scale prints made during the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus Really Big Prints event.