The small fishing community of Shag Harbour on Nova Scotia’s South Shore is playing host to its annual UFO festival, a half-century after an unusual incident that put the village on the map.

It’s a celebration of the quintessential Maritime mystery of what happened in Shag Harbour the night of Oct. 4, 1967.

“We saw lights in the sky and just thought it was an airplane and after a while as we was going up the road at the lights went from flying level to going down to a 45-degree angle,” recalls Laurie Wickens.

Thinking he had witnessed a plane crash, Wickens was one of a dozen people who called RCMP that night.

Officers spotted the saucer-shaped craft floating on the water and witnesses say it was more than 18-metres wide, with flashing lights.

“Unlike so many cases, the UFO hung around and it was still there and they watched it maneuver on the water,” says author Chris Styles. “They attempted to reach it, before they could the object either submerged or disappeared.”

Styles co-authored two books about the sighting and, 50 years later, he and dozens of others are converging on Shag Harbour to commemorate the anniversary.

“UFO phenomenon is a world phenomenon and the thing is as good a case as they get. You have multiple witnesses and in the years since and it's now 50 years, nobody has explained it or explained it away,” says Styles.

Drawn by the mystery, Valerie Bremner Dexter and her husband made the nearly two-hour drive from Digby for the festival.

“We’ve always been interested in UFOs because we know we're not the only beings on the planet. Maybe on this planet but not in the universe,” she says.

Wickens says he has many unanswered questions about the sighting.

“What did they have that could fly that slow? It wasn't going over 40, 50 miles an hour, it was going no faster than we were.”

The festival will run until the actual anniversary of the sighting on Oct. 4.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron-Cadloff