SUTTON, W.Va. – The Mountain Laurel Country Store in downtown Sutton hosted the West Virginia Bigfoot Festival, on Saturday.
Operators of the Bigfoot Museum said the festival has brought a lot of people to the middle of the state while also showcasing approximately 90 craft vendors in the area where there were plenty of Bigfoot items for sale. Festival organizers stated the festival provides a lot of family fun with festival food and live music.
“When we first started, we were a consignment store, and we have a lot of people that make crafts. And one of them was a wood carver and he carved this thing, and I said, ‘oh my goodness, that looks like Bigfoot,’ and said ‘no, it’s the old man in the mountain.’ So, we had that in the front of our store and people just kept coming in telling us, ‘Oh, we have eight of those living on our land’ or ‘Oh we just saw that last week’ and it was just over and over again,” said Laurel Petolicchio, co-owner of the Bigfoot Museum in Sutton.
Within the museum, there is a map showing Bigfoot sightings along with eyewitness accounts and Bigfoot artifacts, such as footprint molds.
“We have a lot of community support and it’s really been helping the businesses grow in our community which was one of our goals. And we work with Andrew Smith with the Flatwoods Monster Museum just to bring tourism into this area, and we’ve actually had people from all over the United States. One guy said he flew in from Hawaii. So, it’s been pretty crazy,” Petolicchio said. “Les O’Dell, and Daniel “Boon” Smith, and Dr. Jeff Meldrum all kind of helped us get this started, and it’s just kind of taken off.”
Officials with the museum said they have had to expand due to receiving generous donations of Bigfoot artifacts from baby Bigfoot footprint casts to adult Bigfoot footprint casts. Those officials added that they have an amazing team of young people and families that help with the festival.
“It’s not scary, it’s a fun family thing. It’s very informative. We try and take a more scientific approach, and so, Dr. Meldrum, who is an expert on hominids around the world, has really come along side of us to try and make sure this is a scientific study,” Petolicchio said. “So, you can come. If you’re not a believer you can come. If you’re a believer you can come and you should have fun both ways.”
Petolicchio added that, for the kids, they have hidden Bigfoots in their mural paintings for the kids to try and find and enjoy.