I awoke on day two of the 2013 Ohio Bigfoot Conference to the sound of Alan opening the balcony door. Alan would very shortly be heading down to the conference room to meet with the staff from the Salt Fork State Park Lodge, and make final checks of the audio and video feeds. We had set up an overflow room with an audio and video feed and we wanted to make sure it was all going to work as planned, because everything always does, right?
Since Alan was taking the lead on the A/V set up, my responsibility was to get our vendor table up and running. Shortly after Alan left I grabbed a shower and a donut and made my way downstairs to scout it out. I briefly met with Alan to see if there was anything he needed. He said that everything was fine, and that I needed to get my ass in gear on the vendor table set-up. I do not recall the time exactly, but let me just say, that vendors were setting up at least two hours before they were officially set to open, and the floor was already beginning to fill up with people. I remembered this time and I made a quick scan to look for one of those skate board things with roll bars to carry stuff to the floor, but they were all in use. It is going to be a long walk with a couple heavy boxes.
After a couple trips back and forth from the room to the vendor area, I paused to lean on our table, catch my breath and assess the situation. It was like being in a life size bee hive. There were people buzzing all around, boxes and carts being pushed, pulled and carried. Voices that were too many to really understand what they were saying, but the hurried tones and the high pitch of stress came through. Then there were those moments when someone would stop. They would be paused in front of their table studying it. If they were feeling the same as me it might have been something like this, “what did I forget?”, or “where is that notepad?”, “did I bring a notepad?”, “where is my pen?”, “what time is it?” There was lots of stuff to do, and little time to do it. I was finishing putting most of the table in place when Alan stopped by to help put the finishing touches on our set-up.
I was concentrating so hard on putting the table together that I had not noticed, that despite the conference speakers not kicking off for nearly another three hours, it was packed!
I took what would end up being the first of several trips around the vendors that were set up. With somewhere around 20 vendors filling the floor there was no shortage of a variety of Bigfoot and other Crypto related products. The items ranged from authors selling their books, movie, and a whole slew of different t-shirts. Some of the coolest items were the hand made products. There was Walter Tippie with his custom designed by hand leather goods; a vendor with custom Sasquatch books for kids; original paintings and drawing; rare Bigfoot related books, and Snuffy Destefano and his wood work. Well, calling it wood work does not really do it justice, all of them are a work of art. Watching him work with a chain saw is pretty amazing as well, but that is for the next post. Destefano had brought in a couple of seven or eight foot tall carved Bigfoot, and the coolest thing was to watch people stop and taking photos with them. We would also like to thank those of you who visited our Fathom Frontiers table.
As the actual conference started, Alan and I took up our posts and began to film the speakers, and other special events.
The main conference room was filled to the brim with nearly 400 people. The over flow room was filled with about 90 people, as Captain Bly of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization (OBO) held watch over that and was in communication with Alan in case anything with the audio or video went wrong.
The line-up of speakers each brought their own unique view, and collectively created an educational and entertaining afternoon.
A few of the highlights included the induction of Mr. John Greene into the Ohio Bigfoot Hall of Fame; Dr. Esteban Sarmiento, a biologist specializing in primatology, one of his specific fields of study is hominoid skeletons, both living and extinct. Mr. Thom Powell speaking about a variety of topics including paranormal aspects and the theory of infrasound; Mark Maisel and Dr. Russ Jones of the BFRO, who, based on feedback from the 2012 conference, represented the local Bigfoot researchers and Loren Coleman, founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Mr. Colman’s topic was related to sex and Bigfoot, which was something to see.
I am in a unique position from where I film the conference. Standing up front gives me a view of both the speaker and the audience as a whole. It is quite interesting to watch people get caught up in the presentation. Nodding of heads, smiles, sometimes the look of a furrowed brow from confusion, or sometimes looks of disagreement, these are just some of the interactions my viewpoint gives me. Perhaps the best though is seeing people young and old, engaged with the speaker and all sharing in laughs together.
After the conference was over Alan and I spent some time with a pizza and found our way to bed. It had been a long, but very satisfying day. With tomorrow right around the corner and a day filled with more filming and a hike waiting for us, we needed the rest.
This is part three of an ongoing series about the 2013 Ohio Bigfoot Conference. Go here to visit the previous post.