As it turns out, one of the more interesting and delightful cross-sections of the American population is composed of folks enthused by both total solar eclipses and Bigfoot. More than four thousand members of this quirky demo showed up to Glen Otto Park in Troutdale, Oregon, for the Oregon Bigfoot Festival on August 19, 2017: just two days before the eclipse.
We met Sasquatch/Eclipse enthusiasts from Hawaii, New Jersey, Colorado and Alberta. Plenty of local Oregonians showed up as well, including a man regaling us with the time he nearly crashed his motorcycle on an Oregon highway when an eight-foot-tall Sasquatch ambled by. Then there was the young woman who made deep eye contact and asked, “Do you want to know about the extraterrestrial presence in our world today?” After a hesitation, she said confidently: “Somewhere deep down, I think you do.” We politely, and somewhat nervously, accepted her flyer.
Alongside these true believers, there were plenty of casual enthusiasts. While most didn’t arrive with harrowing encounter stories (or intergalactic secrets), everyone arrived with tangible titillation in anticipation of a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event that happened to choose Oregon as its premium viewpoint. This, combined with our gathering in the thousands to pay homage to Oregon’s unofficial mascot, seemed to create some sort of peak Oregon singularity.
As we’ve discussed before, Sasquatch has always meant a lot to us a representation of everything that makes the Pacific Northwest special. It was a wonderful experience to share this sentiment with thousands of other people, many eager to pass on the cultural idea of Sasquatch to their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and students. Granted, these are our people and about as ideal an audience we could ask for, we nevertheless received a humbling amount of positive feedback for Get Dressed, Sasquatch! and Monster ABC (“S is for Sasquatch who lives in the nude”) from the attendees of Bigfoot Fest. These conversations made us feel that our books are filing a valuable niche by introducing children to not just a monster, but a cultural touchstone and frame of mind that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
There are many things dividing the American population, perhaps more now than ever. But for one afternoon in an Oregon forest between the Sandy River and Beaver Creek, we were all united by cosmic trajectories and the wonder inspired by a mystical hominid said to lurk in the shadows. As proven by the thousands of adults devoting their Saturday to the hairy beast hiding among the Evergreen trees, once you let Sasquatch into your heart and mind, it’s a difficult feeling to shake.