The next time you begin to think that we go a little overboard here in the hometown. That we tend to get a little silly over giant pumpkins that they won’t let you can’t eat. Or that Mount Airy takes its Mayberry thing a little too far. Or Wilkesboro with its music shows.
The next time that you start thinking like that, just remember. At least we’re not Marion.
That’s the town of Marion, along I-40 on the way to Asheville. It’s a little county seat about the size of Elkin and Jonesville combined and also near the foot of the mountains.
I like Marion. Had a cousin who once lived there. I like the vistas of its surrounding hills. Got some good KFC there one time.
However, I don’t think I’m going to make it back to Marion for its debut Bigfoot street festival. It’s coming next September and has the local chamber of commerce and downtown business association on board. How can the 1,000-pound pumpkins at our street festival next September or the next Mayberry Days parade compete?
In case you haven’t heard, Bigfoot — also called Sasquatch — is the extremely elusive, 9-foot-tall ape man of the Pacific Northwest. He was legend among the region’s Indians, then his purported whereabouts have intrigued folks there since at least 1840. But he’s never been caught.
Well, of late Bigfoot’s been in our N.C. mountains, and Animal Planet TV even made a show about it.
A homemade Bigfoot video recorded near Asheville in 2015 was a hit on TV and the Internet. And in August a town hall meeting about Bigfoot in the McDowell County town of Old Fort drew nearly 200.
A new Bigfoot craze there broke out after the leader of a group called Bigfoot 911 said he was out in woods one night near Lake James east of Marion looking for a creature, and he came upon one. John Bruner said he turned on a spotlight and made eye contact with Bigfoot “for 5 to 10 seconds.”
Now, Bruner is consulting with civic leaders on a new downtown festival that “we are gonna do it big and do it right,” as he described it to the big Charlotte newspaper.
In addition to the usual fall-festival food and craft offerings, the Bigfoot festival will bring in Sasquatch experts who will peddle their books and share their own, spooky stories.
But there’s more.
After the Bigfoot sighting near Marion, a Minnesota man said that actually it was him out in the woods and wearing a fur suit head to toe.
Gawain MacGregor told the big Asheville ‘paper that he re-creates the donning of fur by Gilgamesh, a legendary king of prehistoric Mesopotamia. MacGregor said he prays to Sasquatch in a nature religion called Enkiduism whose rites include encircling a campsite with flour and having sex with his wife for seven straight days during the spring equinox.
I am not making any of this up.
Oh, and there’s more.
Next, a Marion woman took credit for the Bigfoot sighting after concocting an attractant she calls Bigfoot Juice in her kitchen.
Allie Megan Webb of Happy Body Care in Marion said it’s her homemade bug spray that she reworked for her husband, a participant in the Bigfoot 911 amateur search team.
Webb said Bigfoot Juice has a musky, outdoors smell. She sells it for $7 on the Internet.
“I don’t know if it’s a key to finding Bigfoot,” husband Corey Webb told the Charlotte ‘paper, “but it’s definitely not going to hurt your chances.”
You know, after hearing all of this, that hiking marker on East Main in Elkin that points the way to Istanbul, Mt. Everest and Hogwarts, among others, and lists the mileage (3,100 miles to Hogwarts?!), is beginning to look pretty reasonable to me.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.