I’m back from a great weekend in the beautiful Ouachita National Forest where I joined fellow hairy hominid hunters at the first ever Ouachita Bigfoot Festival and Conference. The guest of honor was a no-show though nightly calls were sent out into the surrounding woods.
Special thanks go out to the owners of The Blue Zip Line and Farm on Mena, Arkansas, for being such kind and attentive hosts. Great job, Shelly in putting the event together!
Of course, my focus at the event was selling books and sales exceeded my expectations, but I took away so much more. I made new friends and got an opportunity to meet some Facebook friends in person. The fellowship among this community is not always evident in their bantering on social media. What resembles cannibalism in the cloud, becomes a friendly sharing of experiences in person.
The festival offered nightly community campfires for that sharing experience and I was amazed by the photos and recording presented both at the campfire and the conference. The fellowship among the brave souls that camped for the three days was beyond price. I owe a great debt to Teresa and Jennifer for lifesaving supply of coffee, dinner, and an evening around their fire with the guys from Rock Squatch Designs.
I must admit to a little trepidation about how my “based on actual events” Bigfoot stories would be received. Reports of Bigfoot encounters are generally of short duration and while far from boring, tend to be a little cut and dry for a writer who wants to draw his audience into the story.
My goal was to keep the integrity of the encounters while weaving the backdrop into a web that captures the reader and pulls them in. Admittedly it lacks the emotional impact of a personal sighting, but it does inform and entertain in a way a monologue does not.
I think I may have had success. One brave young man having bought Tracks on Saturday, returned to the scene of the crime on Sunday to have his picture taken with me. Given my resistance to CoVid restrictions when it comes to getting my haircut, I may resemble Bigfoot.
It was encouragement enough to see me through the project to get the full version of Tracks ready for publication. I’m hoping to take that book, and perhaps a second, to the International Bigfoot Conference next year.
The setting for the event, the Ouachita National Forest and the Ouachita River area was awe inspiring. The finale of God’s tapestry spread out for the event came for me in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Away from city lights, the clouds rolled back on an ink black night resplendent to with millions of bright stars. I believe it was God’s way of smiling on us all.
I plan to go back next year for a second helping…and add the zip line. I hope y’all enjoyed the pictures I posted on Facebook of the festival.