Bigfoot Festival brings thousands to Sutton

By Vanta Coda III, RealWV

For three days, Bigfoot and other West Virginia Cryptids dot the grounds of Holly-Gray Park at the fourth annual Bigfoot Festival hosted by the Bigfoot Museum in Sutton, West Virginia. At the forefront of the festival, Laurel Petolicchio, owner of the Bigfoot Museum, is confident in another huge turnout this year.

“The first year we did this I was estimating we were going to have about two hundred show up. And we ended up with almost two thousand the first year,” said Petolicchio. “Since then it has grown like crazy, we had five thousand the second year and then last year we had ten thousand.”

Laughing at the bottom of an inflatable Paul Bunnion slide, Jaxon Belcher looks off to where his grandmother Andrea Owens is sitting. Photo by Vanta Coda III, RealWV.

Since the first year, the number of vendors has rapidly expanded from twelve vendors the first year to now two hundred. Vendor Pete Edwards from Marysville, Ohio, who sells wood carvings and cutouts of cryptids, says this event is bigger than any other Bigfoot Festival he’s attended.

“I wanted to come out and spend time with my family and this is just a cool way to just get out,” said Edwards. “We went to a Tennessee Bigfoot festival, but compared to that festival this is a lot bigger and has a lot more people in it for sure.”

Attendees at the Bigfoot Festival in Holly-Gray Park stop to see what the hundreds of vendors have to offer. Photo by Vanta Coda III, RealWV.

With the number of people that have flocked to the festival over its four-year period, Petolicchio and her staff have had to move locations to house a bigger audience. This year, the events take place at Holly River Park rather than in downtown Sutton.

“With the event space being as big as it is, we have collaborated with many local businesses that offer four-wheeling, Jeep Shows, and even Bigfoot Weddings,” said Petolicchio. “We even have Turtle Man from ‘Call of the Wildman’.”

Vendor Pete Edward carves a wood piece in the shade of his stand. Photo by Vanta Coda III, RealWV.

Bigfoot officiant and Owner of the Thrifty Mountaineer, Jeremy Maddox, expressed his excitement about the weddings and the vow renewals that will take place during the festival.

“I am excited to do these services at such a big event like this, and thankfully the weather will cooperate this weekend,” said Maddox.

Bigfoot Officiant and West Virginia Native, Jeremy Maddox, poses for a portrait. Photo by Vanta Coda III, RealWV.

Even though people come from all over for the festival, Petolicchio makes sure that local representation is emphasized, so that the unique community’s vendors can be showcased.

“All these events help out local businesses that go back into the Sutton community, and that is something that will never change for all the Bigfoot Festivals we put on,” said Petolicchio.

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