POINT PLEASANT — In just a few days, Point Pleasant’s population will nearly double with visitors from across the country and around the world arriving for the 14th annual Mothman Festival.
The festival is officially this Saturday and Sunday with kick starter events on Friday, including a free screening of the “Eyes of Mothman” documentary at 8 p.m. at the historic State Theater and the Miss Mothman Pageants starting at 7 p.m. Friday at the Trinity Christian Community Center.
Festival events begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with the Mothman 5K walk/run in front of the Mothman Museum, followed by the festival officially opening at 10 a.m. with some opening remarks in the area of the museum/Gunn Park where the Mothman Statue sits. This year’s festival is dedicated to the statue’s creator, the late Bob Roach, who recently passed away.
New to the festival this year will be horse-drawn wagon rides touring downtown Point Pleasant. Tickets and information for this can be found at the information booth in front of the Mothman Statue. Two famous visitors will also be arriving for the festival and they are Hillbilly Hot Dogs, which will be unveiling its new specialty Mothman Dog and Banjo Man (Neil James) from the hit TV show “Call of the Wildman.” Banjo Man will be doing a meet-and-greet with fans of the show and there’s a rumor he’s bringing some “pickers” with him as is Hillbilly Hot Dogs and its “Hillbillies in Black,” which hints at a possible banjo throw-down.
And, no, there has been no word on Turtleman returning this year.
Mothman, who received a professional makeover last year from the man who designed Marshall University’s Marco mascot, will be wandering the festival with the Men in Black and who festival organizers are calling a “special crypto friend.” Another new addition will be a fleet of Ecto 1 vehicles and a 30-foot tall “Stay Puft” marshmallow man brought by old friends the Ghostbusters from both the West Virginia and Columbus, Ohio divisions. The Men In Black will also have their own official Ford LTD Crown Victoria, as seen in the “Men In Black” movie at the festival.
Returning favorites to the festival will be hay rides of TNT, bus tours of the TNT area, TNT area flyovers and tram rides through Point Pleasant. Tickets can be purchased for the hay rides, bus tours and tram rides in front of the Mothman statue on the days of the festival or find the Mothman Festival on Facebook for more information or to book in advance. Tickets do go fast for these events and often sell out prior to the festival, though some seats remain at this time. The flyers are offered by, and at, the Mason County Airport north of Point Pleasant.
Also returning, Hillbilly Ziplining on Main Street; the Grumpy Peddlers located in front of the Mothman Museum with their rare vintage motorbikes; the Mystery Machine; and Jody Rife bringing her unique face painting, including Mothman designs for the festival. Also open for business, Harris Steakhouse, the official Mothman diner, the Mothman Museum which is celebrating its second festival in its new location near the Mothman Statue and the Lowe Hotel will be offering haunted tours of the historic structure with tour schedules posted at the hotel. In addition, several other downtown businesses and restaurants will be open for business with unique Mothman souvenirs and food items. Also welcoming visitors are the US Navy Poster Museum and the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center.
As Mothman festival organizers have pointed out, this festival isn’t just about Mothman, it’s about celebrating what Point Pleasant and Mason County have to offer and including local businesses and destinations. One of those destinations is the West Virginia State Farm Museum where the TNT hayrides originate, which takes the festival from one end of Point Pleasant to well past the other end.
In addition to all these activities, free musical performances will be offered in the amphitheater at Point Pleasant Riverfront Park. The schedule of bands for Saturday is as follows: 3 p.m., Swamp Jeuce; 4:30 p.m., 5:42; 6 p.m., Creek Don’t Rise; 7:30 p.m., Two River Junction; 9 p.m., Blue Z Band. Also at 8 p.m., the Mothman Band performs at the Mothman Hayride at the W.Va. State Farm Museum.
Sunday’s bands at Riverfront Park: noon, Stephanie and The Mark IV; 1:30 p.m., Stillwater; 3 p.m., Moonshine Crossing.
The schedule of speakers at the State Theater for Saturday is as follows: 11 a.m., Chad Lambert; noon, Stan Gordon; 1 p.m., Susan Sheppard; 2 p.m., Rosemary Ellen Gulley; 3 p.m., Ken Gerhard; 4 p.m., Bill Brock; 5 p.m., Fred Saluga; 6 p.m., Lyle Blackburn; 7 p.m., Joedy Cook.
The schedule of speakers at the State Theater for Sunday is as follows: 11 a.m., Round table discussion; 1 p.m., Neal Parks; 2 p.m. Sharon Shull and Dottie Campbell; 3 p.m., John Frick. Admission is free to hear all guest speakers.
Other activities of note:
11 a.m., Saturday, Miss Mothman Children’s Pageant at Riverfront Park.
Noon, Saturday, Mothman Bicycle Numbers Run to benefit Point Pleasant Bike Trail, registration at 11 a.m. near the corner of 6th Street and Main Street. All bicycles are welcome, even those with motors as are children and families though young children must be accompanied by an adult. Find Point Pleasant Bike Trail on Facebook for more information.
Noon and 3 p.m., Saturday, River City Cloggers on Main Street.
At 8 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a free screening of the “Mothman Prophecies” at the State Theater.
2 p.m. on Sunday, Fish Fisher performs on Main Street.
In addition there will be unique vendors selling everything from books on Mothman to T-shirts with Bigfoot and more, as well as a unique array of food vendors, all weekend long.
Of course, the schedule of events are subject to change but this is the latest list. For more information visit the Mothman Festival online at www.mothmanfestival.com or find it on Facebook.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.