If you’re curious about Sasquatch, the large, hairy, quasi-human creature believed to exist in the northwestern part of the U.S., Alaska, and western Canada, behold the Juneau Bigfoot Town Hall next Friday.
The town hall at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, which runs from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Sept. 8, is an extension of the Alaska Bigfoot Cruise. The group of about 400 people will be on board Quantum of the Seas. That means 10% of the total passengers on board will be “Bigfooters,” according to Martin Pippin, who manages marketing for Gather Up Events, the company behind the cruise, which is owned by his partner, Nikki Beaty.
Pippen said he’s looking for people who have had a brush with the mythical creature so they can talk about it during the encounter segment of the event. That’s sandwiched between a talk by scholar Robert Alley, who spent decades researching Bigfoot, and a question-and-answer period with all the featured speakers on the boat. Thomas Sewid, a well-known artist who specializes in Sasquatch art, also will be on hand.
The cruise is the first time the company, which holds Sasquatch conferences in Tennessee and Florida, has taken to the high seas.
“We were nervous about it at first,” Pippen said. It was a bigger financial commitment than their Bigfoot conferences, but it was also on the other side of the country. They weren’t sure people would want to travel.
The duo need not have worried. “The cruise completely sold out months ago,” Pippin said. Interest is high enough that they’ve already booked space for next year’s cruise, which will likewise include a town hall in Juneau.
Beaty and Pippen know the interest in the elusive bipedal, ape-like creature is high because of the popularity of the Gather Up Events conferences. The Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Conference in Gatlinburg, Tennesee, drew more than 2,300 people. The Great Florida Bigfoot Conference, in Ocala, the newer of the conferences, brought in 2,200.
The legend of Bigfoot has been passed down in North American folklore over many generations, with sightings by settlers going back to the 1800s, according to the Washington National Guard.
”Entire organizations exist to study and document Bigfoot and prove its existence and groups regularly search the Northwest woods, looking for that ultimate proof,” according to its website.
“The world is split, pretty much right down the middle,” is how Pippen described the Bigfoot clientele.
“There are people who believe Sasquatch is an alien, or metaphysical, or transdimensional,” while others are “biologists” interested in science and other study.
Alley, the lead speaker at the Juneau town hall, is a retired professor of anatomy and physiology at the University of Alaska Southeast in Ketchikan. He studied Bigfoot for more than 40 years, with research “focused on forensic evidence, eyewitness reports and historical Native lore.” He is making a special trip to Juneau for the event.
Pippen acknowledged they are trying to fit a lot in the three-hour window. It might have been longer, but the cruise ship cut an hour of its scheduled time in Juneau. The cruise they’ve selected for next year will have closer to 10 hours on the dock.
Know & Go
What: Juneau Bigfoot Town Hall
Where: Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, 320 W. Willoughby Ave.
When: Friday, Sept. 8, 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Tickets: https://gatherupevents.com/juneau-bigfoot-town-hall. Cost is $20.
• Contact Meredith Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 615-3190.