POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The 15th annual Mothman Festival is less than a month away and organizers are expecting a record crowd.
“We typically see 5,000 people (at the festival), this year we’re looking at 8,000 to 9,000,” Denny Bellamy, director of the Mason County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said.
Bellamy said this growth could be attributed to several things, including this year being the 50th anniversary of the reported sightings of Mothman in Mason County, W.Va. This is also the 15th year of the festival, which only continues to grow in size, reputation and attractions. Bellamy added, there are already 13,000 people interested in visiting the festival, according to its Facebook page. He explained, if even half of those arrive in Point Pleasant, it could be a “situation” in terms of where to park them all.
Finding available parking has always been an issue at the festival and this year, as previously reported, the City of Point Pleasant has agreed to park cars at Krodel Park for a $5 fee and offer a free tram ride between the park and the festival.
“People need to prepare for the crowd that’s coming,” Bellamy said, pointing out that’s not a bad thing considering the money these visitors spend in Mason County, as well as adjacent counties which benefit from booked hotels. In Point Pleasant, the Lowe Hotel is booked a year in advance for the festival.
Bellamy said the festival is also physically expanding in downtown Point Pleasant, having vendors and displays in a larger area which will include from the State Theater at 6th Street to the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center on 1st Street.
“We want the festival to stretch from one end (of Main Street) to the other, not just be contained to one area,” Bellamy said when talking about the congestion that happens on 4th Street near the Mothman statue when the crowd picks up.
The festival, which is known for adding those special attractions each year, will be hosting the cast of “Mountain Monsters” for a fan meet and greet on Saturday, Sept. 17. “Mountain Monsters” is a documentary television series on Destination America. It premiered June 22, 2013, and began its fourth season on Jan. 23, 2016.
Also, each year the festival welcomes more and more of those into “cosplay” which are fans dressed as their favorite characters. Returning this year are the Men in Black as well as the Ghostbusters and more. New this year, in terms of “cosplay” will be fans dressed as characters from the hit television show, “Supernatural,” along with a Chevy Impala that looks like the one on the show. Often found wandering the streets during the festival are Captain America, characters from Star Wars and the elusive Bigfoot. In fact, vendors and speakers enthralled with Sasquatch have been growing at the festival, along with those interested in the paranormal.
Speakers on a variety of topics will also be at the State Theater; the Mothman hayrides will return to the West Virginia State Farm Museum; the TNT bus tours will return as well; an eclectic offering of merchandise and food vendors will be lining the streets again; bands have been booked at Riverfront Park; the Mothman 5K Run/Walk will be back, as will Hillbilly Zip Line, inflatables for kids, tram ride tours and horse and carriage rides.
Also, Mothman will be available for selfies for the entire weekend and local attractions like the World’s Only Mothman Museum, the river museum, the U.S. Navy Poster Museum, as well as local downtown merchants, will be open for business.
A more complete guide on the festival, which takes place Sept. 17-18, will appear in an upcoming edition of the Point Pleasant Register.
More information about the festival can be found on Facebook and at www.mothmanfestival.com. Admission is free.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.