LEETONIA, Ohio (WKBN) — Corndogs, deep-fried foods, sweet tea, and folklore can sum up the first annual Bigfoot Festival in Leetonia.
“I saw one in 1997,” said Bigfoot enthusiast Mark Dewerth.
“I thought it was deer for a couple of minutes then it stood on its hind legs,” added fellow enthusiast Mark Maisel.
However, the festival’s creator, Karen Yoho, said she’s never saw the infamous creature.
“I have not, I’m one of the people who have not seen Bigfoot,” explained Yoho.
Yoho created the event due to the high number of repoted Bigfoot sightings in the area.
“It’s a huge following in this area, there have been a lot of sightings,” said Yoho.
In fact, so-called Bigfoot experts claim Columbiana County and the Mahoning Valley have some of the highest sightings statewide.
“Bigfoot has a big following, it brings a lot of people,” Yoho said.
With such a large following, a festival to restore a historic part of the town was a given.The money raised from this weekend’s Big foot festival will help restore a major part of Leetonia’s history; the Beehive Coke Ovens. There are 200 hundred of them in the Columbiana County town. Back in the early 1900’s they were used as part of the steel making process.
“All funds raised will help with restoration,” said Yoho.
Over the entire weekend, people can enjoy their share of food, restoring history, and Bigfoot discoveries.
“I was looking for badgers and I was close to a den and something was following me out,” said Dewerth.
“Caught a glimpse of a figure when we reconstructed it, it was probably seven-and-a-half feet tall,” added enthusiast Dr. Jeff Meldrum.
However, for many, it’s just the time together that makes this festival worth while.
“It’s not like I don’t believe, she says I’m crazy all the time. Well I didn’t see it,” finished festival attendee Robert Hupp.