POINT PLEASANT — This weekend’s Mothman Festival will include an opening ceremony dedicated to the memory of the late Carolin Harris, who helped start the festival.
Each year, the mayor of Point Pleasant arrives at 10 a.m., on Saturday at the Mothman Statue to give a few, brief remarks and welcome visitors to the festival at the Mothman Statue. This year will be slightly different with Mayor Brian Billings, along with festival organizer Jeff Wamsley, and others, gathering for the welcome and memorial for Harris at 10 a.m., at Point Pleasant Riverfront Park. A commemorative plaque will be placed in Harris’ memory just inside the Fourth Street entrance of Riverfront Park where she spent so much time year-round working at various events. The money for the plaque came from a fundraiser at The Meeting House and the Main Street Merchants helped arrange for the memorial, with assistance from the city to prepare a place for the plaque inside the park.
Listed below is a festival guide for those planning to attend:
Festival dates and times
The 16th annual Mothman Festival is this Saturday and Sunday in downtown Point Pleasant with ground zero being at Fourth Street at the Mothman Statue. Events will stretch from Sixth Street to Second Street. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday. Admission is free.
In addition, there is a festival “kickstarter” event offered today (Friday) at 7 p.m. featuring a screening of “Mothman of Point Pleasant” at the State Theater. This screening is free and starts at 8 p.m. Filmmaker Seth Breedlove and crew will be on hand at 7 p.m. for a discussion about the film. They will have DVD copies of the movie for sale and will sign them.
Each year the Mothman Festival welcomes special celebrities to meet with fans and this year is no different. The cast of “Mountain Monsters” will be making a return visit, meeting with fans under a canopy across from the Point Pleasant Post Office. The cast will be there on both days. Festival organizers are saying to once again expect long lines and bring a chair if you need one, though organizers said, last year’s festival goers reported the “wait was worth it.” The AIMS team will have plenty of merchandise on hand to purchase. This is a free event and doesn’t require tickets.
Cosplay and character meet-and-greets
Cosplay consists of fans dressed as their favorite characters and the Mothman Festival welcomes them with open arms. This year, the 501st Legion, a group of Star Wars Fans, will be at the festival raising money for Holdyn Keefer, a local boy who has been battling leukemia. This year will also mark the return of the popular “Ghostbusters” who often bring their 30-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The Ghostbusters actually raise money for children’s charities.
Often found wandering the streets during the festival are the Men In Black, Captain America and the elusive Bigfoot. Also, the star of the festival, Mothman, will be making multiple appearances for photo ops. The Mothman costume was redesigned a few years ago by the man who gave Marshall University’s Marco a new look. Those festival attendees who like to get into character are encouraged to wear their costumes but keep them limited to family friendly attire.
Bus tours, hayrides, tram tours and horse-drawn carriage rides will all be offered for a fee at this year’s festival. Bus tours will be given of the TNT area, which will include a guided speaking about the history of the area and will allow tourists to step off the bus into the TNT area to examine an igloo. As of Thursday, these tours were sold out though some “walk ups” for Sunday may be available. Check at the bus tent located at 6th and Main streets at the Mason County Courthouse to check availability.
Tickets for hayrides of the TNT area which start at the West Virginia State Farm Museum are from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday and can be purchased at the information tent at the festival starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, as can tram tours which feature a historic, guided ride through downtown Point Pleasant. Cost is $5 cash. The horse-drawn carriage rides will feature a stroll through downtown Point Pleasant with tickets purchased at the carriage stop, located near the heart of the action on Main Street in downtown in Point Pleasant. All tickets available on first come, first served basis. Information booth will be near the post office.
Bands and live entertainment schedule
All performances at Riverfront Park. Saturday: 11 a.m., Riverside Cloggers; 1 p.m., Tangled Roots; 2 p.m., Ultrasound; 3 p.m., Riverside Cloggers; 5 p.m., Snugglefish; 7 p.m., Duane Albert and the Area 51 Band. Sunday: 11 a.m., Moonshine Crossing Band; 1 p.m., Deep Creatures; 3 p.m., Blue Moves.
Race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, check-in is at the Mothman Museum on Main Street at 7 a.m. Runners/walkers will then walk to the start line at 8th Street and Main Street. Registration the day of the race is also at 7 a.m., also in front of the museum.
Discussions on a variety of topics, all held in the historic State Theater on Main Street. Speakers set for Saturday, Sept. 16: 11 a.m., Tad Greathouse, local historian and resident, topic is “The History of the Infamous TNT area.” Noon, George Dudding, author-writer-teacher, topic is “The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967.” 1 p.m., Lyn Fawn Cornwell, descendent of Shawnee Chief Cornstalk, topic is “The Legend and Life of Chief Cornstalk.” 2 p.m., Rosemary E. Guiley, author and leading paranormal expert, topic is “The 2017 Chicago Flying Humanoids Wave.” 3 p.m., Jason Hawes and J.V. Johnson, Ghost Hunters TV show and Beyond Realty radio hosts, topic is to be announced. 4 p.m., Lyle Blackburn, author-musician-TV personality, topic is “In Search of the Southern Sasquatch.” 5 p.m., Cameron Jones, UFO researcher and cryptozoologist, topic is “Strange Tales from Appalachia.” 6 p.m., Ron Murphy, writer and paranormal U.K. radio show host, topic is “Winged Entities of the Faerie Realm.” 7 p.m., Robert Robinson, author and researcher, topic is “The Skunk Ape of Florida.”
Speakers for Sunday, Sept. 17: noon, Steve Ward, UFO and weird phenomenon investigator, topic is “High Strangeness.” 1 p.m., David Weatherly, author and investigator, topic is “Black Eyed Kids & Flying Humanoids.” 2 p.m., Bill Brock, investigator and TV personality, topic is “Portals. What Are They? Are They Real?” 3 p.m., Ohio Ghost Hunters Paranormal Investigators, topic is “A Guide to Ghost Hunting and Paranormal Investigations.”
There will be parking lots at Krodel Park and the Mason County Board of Education Office, as well as at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School for a fee. A parking fee of $10 per car will be charged with all proceeds going to the Krodel Park Splash Pad project. Volunteers from the City of Point Pleasant will be parking the cars in shifts. Shuttles service will be offered and bottles of water for those waiting on a lift to downtown. The clubhouse will be used at Krodel for a shelter for anyone who would like to get out of the sun, as the weather is supposed to be warm this weekend. Signs will be posted directing visitors to parking areas.
There will also be activities for kids and kids at heart, as well as a large variety of food and merchandise vendors.
Admission into the festival is free.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.
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