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Jody (copy)

Jody Pendarvis stands near his UFO Welcome Center in Bowman.

There is nothing else like it in the entire state of South Carolina.

One could say it is uniquely "alien" to the state.

The renown of the 16-foot-tall, 46-foot-wide, saucer-shaped Bowman UFO Welcome Center has spread over the country and the world, with news of the welcome center greeting viewers from distant galaxies and foreign lands as far away as Japan on planet Earth.

No damage reported from possible tornado

Comedy Central's Daily Show and Roseanne Barr's talk show both have showcased the center the past.

The origins of the UFO Welcome Center came from the inner recesses of the mind of Jody Pendarvis, a Bowman resident and former mayoral candidate for the town.

He embarked upon his construction of the alien greeting structure -- which is located near his residence at the corner of Homestead Road and Oliver Street -- in 1994.

Built of lumber from from his grandmother's store when it was torn down to make room for a BP gas station, the UFO is held together with wood screws and bolts so that it will weather hurricanes and tornadoes, according to Pendarvis.

About eight tons of plywood and boards went into the project.

At first, it was going to be Jody’s UFO #1, but the postmaster suggested Pendarvis name it the UFO Welcome Center.

The design of the Bowman UFO is inspired.

“I’ve never seen a UFO built, but I like to mow my grass in circles,” Pendarvis has said.

The UFO is designed so that aliens could be comfortable meeting people from Earth. It even has a little roof on top so aliens can descend neatly inside. 

A second, smaller saucer was placed on top -- sort of like the proverbial icing on the cake. Pendarvis said he would like to go with the aliens when they come. The smaller saucer would serve this purpose quite well.

The interior of the UFO also is alien friendly. It includes a small kitchen amenable to aliens to bring a taste of home-cooking on their journey.

Local officials, however, have found the UFO unwelcoming.

The center was originally scheduled to open on Columbus Day in 1996, but its opening was delayed due to some structural concerns. Four years later, the welcome center was again scheduled to open to the public. However, it has been deemed not to be compliant with building codes and unsafe.

No need to fret though. 

The UFO will fly one day, Pendarvis is confident.

After all, the structure has room for five engines enabling it to do so on that great and fateful day, according to Pendarvis.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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