Editor's Note: Terry Lazzell wrote this article for Woodall's Campground Management.
Ever wonder what it’s like to participate in a Bigfoot investigation? The 2019 PA Bigfoot Camping Adventure set to run May 31-June 2 at Benner’s Meadow Run Camping and Cabins in Farmington, Penn., is an opportunity for people to experience one for themselves.
The event is the third at the campground in four years organized by Eric Altman, an active Bigfoot researcher, cryptozoologist, field investigator, paranormal enthusiast, radio host and producer, as well as conference and event organizer.
Altman, of Pennsylvania, chose the location because he’s from the state and the campground allows the room needed along with access to camping or nearby hotels and the ability to conduct numerous activities, including night hikes.
“This area has a lot of history and sightings of Bigfoot and Sasquatch since the 1800s,” Altman told Woodall’s Campground Management. “There are a lot of enthusiasts in this area. People walk away from these events knowing more. They get educated and meet TV celebrities who are doing real research that they can talk with and learn more from them.”
The 2019 PA Bigfoot Camping Adventure features guest speakers, celebrities and special guests, as well as workshop, vendors, live music and films pertaining to the Bigfoot phenomenon. Participants can also take part in a night hike during the weekend. And, Altman said, the event is family focused where children are not only invited, but parents are encouraged to bring the whole family. There’s also a charity auction with artwork and books.
“We want people to know this is family friendly and is not just a fringe subject,” Altman said. “It’s a chance to spend time outdoors with friends and family and to learn more.”
For the owners of Benner’s Meadow Run Camping and Cabins, the event brings in people from all over the country said owner Marylou Rohlf. She and her husband own the campground that was started by Marylou’s parents in 1965.
“We were a little skeptical at first, but a friend knew Eric and we took a chance,” Rohlf said. “What we found was that from campers to speakers, the people were all wonderful. It’s very impressive.”
The campground has 200 sites and all cabins were booked by March. All events, except the night hikes, take place at the campground, with vendors and speakers setting up in the field by the pavilion in the campground, Rohlf said. This year’s event is the weekend following Memorial weekend, which she said is great for business since it’s a weekend following a long holiday.
The park normally opens from April 15 though October 15, although weather can change those dates, Rohlf said. The campground does keep three cabins and 12 RV hookup sites open year-round by reservation only.
In addition to night hikes, the event includes lectures and workshops and attendees can visit with guest speakers, as well as other enthusiasts. One of the biggest names at this year’s event is Cliff Barackman, co-star of “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet. He has appeared in various media, including the History Channel’s Monster Quest, talking about his Bigfoot experience and has written about the subject.
Don Jeff Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology of Idaho State University who wrote Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, will also join the weekend event.
Other well-known names on the subject in attendance will include Ken Gerhard, cryptozoologist and field investigator for The Centre for Fortean Zoology and fellow of the Pangea Institute. He has traveled the world searching for evidence of mysterious animals and legendary beasts including Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, enigmatic winged creatures and werewolves.
In addition to co-hosting the History Channel TV series Missing in Alaska, he has appeared in three episodes of the television series Monster Quest and is featured in the History Channel special, The Real Wolfman.
Tickets for the weekend range from $25 to $60, and do not include accommodations. Only about 100 tickets of 500 were still available by mid-March.