DAYTON – Camping and barbecuing have long been strong staples of summertime fun and relaxation. Now, Gearhart’s Milton Loop Campground in Dayton is adding a little folklore and paranormal activity to the mix.
On Saturday, July 14, the campground, which is located in northern Armstrong County along Mahoning Creek Lake and offers four cabins and more than 50 campsites, will host its first annual Bigfoot, BBQ and UFO Festival.
The event will be filled with concessions and incoming vendors, according to camp manager Harry Gearhart. Gearhart also said the plan is for chicken, ribs and pulled pork to be prepared as part of the barbecue, along with providing a couple bounce houses for kids in attendance.
But, what really sets the oncoming event apart is its theme of Bigfoot and UFOs.
Campground manager Harry Gearhart said the idea for hosting such a day at his campground started in early April.
“Aaron Dunbar, the writer of ‘A Wish For Giants’ book and movie, wanted to know if we’d be interested in showing his movie in the pavilion some weekend and it just kind of grew from there,” Gearhart explained.
Along with the movie, Gearhart said some experts and authors in the world of Bigfoot and UFOs will speak about their own findings.
Researcher and author, Stan Gordon, will present an illustrated lecture called, “Strange Encounters of Pennsylvania,” and will cover a history of UFOs, Bigfoot and other strange incidents that have occurred in Westmoreland County and the surrounding Pittsburgh area, as well as statewide.
One of the topics covered at the event will include the 1965 Kecksburg UFO incident.
Gearhart said he thinks Gordon could be a big hit with attendees.
“Stan Gordon is very well known. He’s been all over TV for his research on everything paranormal,” Gearhart said.
“And food,” co-manager Amanda Gearhart laughed. “Everyone likes to eat, so we’ll have all kinds of food.”
Author of paranormal fiction, Ed Kelemen, will also speak. In addition, a resident by the name of Johnny Freeman will talk about his own UFO encounter in Fayette County, according to Gearhart.
The Bigfoot, BBQ and UFO Festival is free to attend. It is set to start at 10 a.m. and end at 9 p.m. Those interested can learn more about the event on Facebook at “Gearhart’s Milton Loop Campground.” For more information, call the campground at (814) 257-0131.