Bigfoot has an official home, at least according to one small town in Minnesota.
Like most small towns that want a claim to fame, tiny Remer, Minnesota, has found a way to draw people to its sleepy community of 370 residents — by claiming that it is the home of Bigfoot, the mythical creature that reportedly stalks about in the woods throughout the United States.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Bigfoot and other mythical creatures have long held the imagination of people the world over. And no less so than in Minnesota.
Midway between the resorts of Brainerd Lakes and and Leech Lake, the town is just off the the tourist trail that would bring in seasonal cash for the local main street program. So, the town decided to get creative to help bring in tourist bucks.
This weekend, Remer will hold its first annual Bigfoot celebration to honor the legendary creature. It owns its claim to a fuzzy photo that was taken of Bigfoot nearby and published worldwide in 2009.
The weekend festivities will include a talk by the head of Minnesota Bigfoot Research Team, scavenger hunts, a Bigfoot calling demonstration, and a screening of the film, Harry and the Hendersons.
A news release from the city says officials are committed to “gathering and preserving everything and anything that can be known about Bigfoot.”
But one California town is crying foul.
For decades, Willow Creek, California, has been touted as the “Bigfoot Capital of the World.”
Steven Streufert, owner of Bigfoot Books in Willow Creek, said a famous film that supposedly captures Bigfoot’s image was shot near there, and the town has embraced the legend since 1959.
Streufert had a thing or two to say to tiny Remer about their new claim, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“You guys can slap up all the Bigfoot stuff you want, but it’s not going to change a d**n thing. We are the Bigfoot capital. You guys can’t compete. You’ve got to get a real film. It’s like Loch Ness.”
Remer’s idea for the claim came from Marc Ruyak, an Iraq war veteran and businessman who researched local reports of alleged Bigfoot sightings in the area. Some of the reports date all the way back to town founder William P. Remer, who claims to have discovered large humanlike footprints in the early 1900s.
“I did a lot of legwork and realized there is a lot of stuff on Bigfoot going on around here. I started to wonder, where is Bigfoot’s home? There is just as much activity reported here in northern Minnesota as anywhere else. It’s not about whether you believe in Bigfoot or not, it’s that there is a mystery about them.”
Ruyak decided to claim the title and had the phrase, “The true home of Bigfoot,” trademarked. He has also applied for a trademark.
The weekend festival will feature cutouts of the giant creature, T-shirts and other memorabilia, “Bigfoot Brew” and “Squatch Water,” which were developed by a local brewery. Remer restaurants have also created a Bigfoot Burger and Bigfoot Breakfast, Ruyak said.
Another town in Ohio is also holding a Bigfoot Convention this weekend, and it’s not the only town in America trying to claim Bigfoot, according to Streufert, who said the number of towns trying to jump on Bigfoot’s back is “escalating.”
The realization that so many towns across America want to link themselves to Bigfoot has led Streufert to consider setting up something like “The North American Bigfoot Town Association.” He’s even thought about creating a map with all of the locations available for Bigfoot enthusiasts who might like to take a Bigfoot roadtrip.
However, Streufert reminds all of the towns claiming Bigfoot that any glorified expectations that the creature will become a huge money-maker are futile.
“A lot of people here are pretty cynical about it. You can’t make a lot of money off this crap. Bigfoot is really a distraction for me. I started out with zero Bigfoot merchandise.”
Still, Streufert notes that there is a sentimental aspect about Bigfoot that still draws people to the creature.
“It’s a nostalgia thing because it’s another era of America. Everybody has turned it into this metaphysical Bigfoot. They want this metaphysical, quantum physics experience.”
Streufert notes that there might be one difference between his Willow Creek Bigfoot and the one who will be celebrated this weekend in Remer.
“It might have a different accent or something.”
[Image via Shutterstock]