B y Dan King

bigfoot

A Sasquatch statue looks over the park

You’ve heard of hog-calling contests at county fairs, but Whitehallers will be calling a much more exotic creature this weekend.
The Whitehall Beautification and Enhancement Committee and the Arts and Recreation Commission of Whitehall are working together to sponsor the inaugural Whitehall Sasquatch Festival, which will kick off Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Skenesborough Park.
“There’s people calling me all day some times,” said organizer David Molenaar. “I’m excited to see how many people may come. Jason LaMoy has done a great job with online advertising. We’ve heard from people in New York City, Ohio and Washington state.”
Highlighting the festivity will be the Sasquatch-calling contest, which is tabbed to begin at 1:15 p.m. The top prize for the contest will be $100 and the second best caller will win $50.
Molenaar said he’s heard people have been intensely preparing to give their best impression of the howling roar of the mysterious, hairy creature.
“I’m hearing from people all over town trying to come up with the funniest call,” Molenaar said. Asked what makes a good Sasquatch call, he said, “That’s completely subjective, I think.”
Judges will include Barb Neddo, Ugg! the Sasquatch and Sasquatch witness Brian Gosselin. Molenaar said he is still waiting to hear back from a couple other potential judges, including Mayor Ken Bartholomew.
In addition to the Sasquatch-calling contest, the festival will offer a full day of live music from Just the Two of Us, Citizen’s Treasure, Asa Morris and the Mess, and Squatch; Bigfoot movies; talks by area Bigfoot researchers and witnesses including Gosselin, Frank Siecienski, Paul Bartholomew, Bill Brann and Steve Kulls; games, contests and more.
“We had so many bands say they wanted to play but were already booked, so hopefully next year we’ll have even more music,” Molenaar said. “It might have to be more than one day next year.”
Catholic Daughters will have their popular cake booth at the event as well.
For the younger crowd there will be kids’ activities and a bouncy house.
Molenaar came up with the idea of having a Sasquatch-calling contest while reading a tourism magazine one day.
“There is a town in the Adirondacks that has a mosquito-calling contest and I thought ‘why doesn’t Whitehall have a Sasquatch-calling contest’,” he said.
That was a few months ago. The idea started small, and Molenaar said people immediately jumped on board.
“We’ve been hanging up flyers everywhere from Glens Falls and Lake George to Rutland,” he said. “From the feedback we’ve been getting I’m expecting about 1,000 people and some people tell me that’s a low estimate.”
Whitehall is regarded by many in the Sasquatch research world as the hub of Sasquatch activity on the east coast. Molenaar hopes the festival can expose people to the natural beauty of Whitehall, specifically the area along the canal.
“This will be Whitehall’s Woodstock. Route 4 will be closed down and people will be hiking miles to get to the festival,” Molenaar added with a chuckle.
For more information, call Molenaar at 518-499-0874.

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