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Celebrity guests, food/beer vendors, live entertainment converge for event focused on UFOs, monsters, paranormal.

Getting up close and personal with Bigfoot? Check.

Listening to explanations and possible causes for the paranormal? Roger.

Making a beeline for speakers and guests who chase UFOs and other interesting phenomena on national television shows? Affirmative.

If you check any of those boxes, it would seem that the Oregon Bigfoot Festival, slated to land at the Clackamas County Event Center in Canby on Saturday, July 30, has just about everything an adventuring soul could want.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON BIGFOOT FESTIVAL - The Oregon Bigfoot Festival makes its debut in Canby on July 30 after a two-year wait due to the pandemic.

And that's just the way its organizers hoped it would turn out. After outgrowing its original space, then idling for two years due to the pandemic, JC and Katrina Mercer are bringing their Oregon Bigfoot Festival — Monsters & Mayhem show to Canby for one day. Getting here has been an experience.

"My wife and I (Katrina) are the event directors and we started this in 2017 in Troutdale," JC said. "We didn't think it was going to be very big, but it wound up outgrowing Troutdale pretty quickly. We had people from all over the U.S. come."

JC got the idea for a Bigfoot festival while walking down the streets of Hood River and "he was looking at Bigfoot items in the window and asked if Oregon had any kind of Bigfoot festival," Katrina said. "That's how it all came into being."

During its last event in Troutdale, the festival attracted more than 7,000 people to its one-day schedule. The couple said that Canby had reached out to them about hosting the festival and then COVID-19 hit and things were put on hold.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON BIGFOOT FESTIVAL - The Oregon Bigfoot Festival comes to Canby on July 30.

"We decided to take a look and thought Canby was the best location for us," JC said, noting that they wouldn't have to limit access to the festival the way they'd had to in Troutdale.

This year's return will feature 12 celebrity guests with two main panels (10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and three other smaller panels between those two.

And some of these panelists are well-known in their unique niche. Jason Hawes has been on shows like "TAPS," "Ghost Hunters" and "Ghost Nation" on stations like A&E, Travel Channel and Discovery. Joining him will be Mel Skahan (Travel Channel's "Expedition Bigfoot"), Shari Debenedetti ("Ghost Hunters") and others who have plenty of expertise in their areas.

"There's pretty much something for everyone, from monsters to ghosts to the paranormal and UFOs," JC said. "When people come in they'll see at least 110 vendors, the celebrity guest panels, a beer garden, food carts, live entertainment and we are working with Ravenous Studios (and FX company) in Portland who will provide our own movie studio Bigfoot."

Also on tap is Tom Bowden, the Oregon Mutual UFO Network director.

"Anything that happens with UFOs in Oregon is reported to him," JC said. "We've crammed a lot of stuff into only eight hours. I think people will really have fun."

The show runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 30.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to oregonbigfootfestival.com.


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