When it comes to social distancing, nobody does it better than Bigfoot, and it looks like that will continue this summer. Sadly, the Oregon Bigfoot Festival and Beyond, which was planned to be held for the first time in Canby this July, has been canceled.
Conceived by J.C. and Katie Mercer, the quirky and family-friendly event was started in 2017 and has quickly grown, and grown, and grown. Even the first year, the event drew thousands to its original home, Glenn Otto Community Park in Troutdale.
The festival has drawn interest from celebrity Bigfoot researchers (yes, that’s a thing that exists), artists, media outlets and nationally syndicated radio and TV personalities.
The event’s focus has evolved as well, from being centered on Sasquatch, to including other things cryptic and paranormal (hence, the wording “and Beyond” that was added to its name).
By last year, the festival drew an estimated 7,000 to Troutdale (making it the largest event on that city’s calendar). It became obvious that they had outgrown Glenn Otto, and the Mercers made plans for a long-term move to the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Events Center in Canby.
Then, the coronavirus struck. The Mercers announced the decision to cancel this year’s festivities on March 19.
“What it came down to was that there was just no way we could guarantee everyone’s safety,” J.C. Mercer told the Canby Now Podcast this weekend. “It was a very, very difficult decision, but it’s what everyone is doing. I mean, they even postponed the Olympics.”
The Mercers’ agreement with the fairgrounds covered five years, so their Canby debut will still happen, just one year later.
Still, the cancellation of an event that had been scheduled for late July does not necessarily bode well for those who were hoping for a return to some semblance of normalcy by this summer.
The popular Spring Garden Fair has already been pushed back, from the first weekend in May to the last one, where it would be held in conjunction with the Clackamas County Event Center’s Tastes & Tunes Festival on May 29, 30 and 31.
The amazing team behind the Oregon Renaissance Faire is still planning on holding their event the first two weekends in June, according to Fairgrounds Marketing and Vendor Coordinator Tyler Nizer.
Also on the horizon, Harefest 10, which is planning (hoping?) to draw thousands of classic rock lovers to the fairgrounds July 10 and 11.
Nizer said he is is close contact with the organizers for each event and making adjustments based on the latest information and guidelines.
“Our No. 1 goal, obviously, is keeping people safe,” Nizer said. “We’re working with everybody and making backup plans to our backup plans if we need to. We’re moving forward as best we can.”
When the pandemic is behind us, and people are able to safely congregate again, the Fairgrounds will be ready.
“When all this is over, you know, I’m sure people are going to want to get out of the house,” Nizer said with a laugh. “We’re excited for that. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put on some great events this summer to help with that.”
Hear more about the Oregon Bigfoot Festival in Episode 157 of the Canby Now Podcast, “Talking Bigfoot”: