I met Bigfoot the Sasquatch at the August 2020 Crown Point Corn Festival in Ironville, New York.
I had gone to Ironville, the Birthplace of the Electonic Age, to study Joseph Henry and the invention of the electromagnet. Bigfoot had come north to Ironville from his haunts in Whitehall to nibble on the locally grown sweetcorn. Champlain Valley sweetcorn is a delicacy for vegetarians like Bigfoot.
We were both also drawn to the Corn Festival by the festivities themselves, and by the beauty of the secluded, bucolic festival site, a farm beside Putnam Creek. There were family games, a silent auction, Penelope the Clown, and music by a jug band that played Bigfoot’s favorite, the Chicken Dance. And there was a corn maze.
Our meeting was completely unexpected. Bigfoot has always been reluctant to be out-and-about where he might encounter humans. He has gotten bolder of late, ever since Whitehall declared him to be a protected species. But still, very few people have ever even seen Bigfoot, never mind meeting him.
As it was, Bigfoot spent all his time at the festival hidden out of sight in the corn maze. There he ate to his heart’s content and danced to the music of the jug band, until late in the evening when, sated and weary, he fell asleep. I stumbled over him while foolishly attempting to navigate the corn maze in the dark by the stars.
Although rudely awakened, he was unperturbed that I had fallen on him. In fact, apart from his flustered surprise, he was quite congenial, like you might expect from a big teddy bear at a teddy bear’s picnic. We rolled apart and sat up, eyeing each other with amused curiosity. “Fancy meeting you here,” I said.
“I must have fallen asleep. How silly of me. I trust that you will not call an alarm. I must be going, anyway. No need to stir up the crowd. I always intended to leave under cover of darkness, just as I had arrived. Dear me,” Bigfoot said, turning his head from side to side and looking over his shoulder to make sure that no one else was around. “I overindulged and nodded off.”
“No, no. Don’t be afraid. I will not raise an alarm,” I assured him with a smile. “I never thought that I would ever meet a sasquatch. Geez, you’re far from Whitehall. Do you come to these festivals often?” I asked him.
“I was here last year,” he told me. “I come for the sweetcorn that is grown right here on this farm. It is a special hybrid corn that I cannot get anywhere else. A real delicacy. There is also added iron in the soil, too. The iron, that’s how Ironville got its name. Plant iron is important to vegetarians like me,” he said.
Then he stood up, head and shoulders above the corn stalks and, looking around, he gave me a hand up. “I guess I must be going,” he said, and he started to trundle away.
“Wait,” I said in a panic. “I’m lost in this corn maze,” I confessed, nervously shaking my head. “Clouds have moved in and there are no stars for me to follow. The festival is over, and people have all gone home. You are tall enough to see your way out over the corn stalks. Show me the way out? Otherwise, I don’t think that I will get out of here until morning.”
“Sure,” he said. “Come on.” And he turned to lead me out of the corn maze. But as he passed through a row of corn, the stalks closed back up, and he was gone, vanished, and I was alone in the maze.
In the starless darkness I found myself walking from one dead-end to another until I was too weary to continue. It was a warm August night. I sat down, lowered my head to my chest, closed my eyes and fell asleep. Noises at the start of the day awoke me.
I wonder if I’ll see Bigfoot again at the next Crown Point Corn Festival. I’ll make sure to bring my sleeping bag this time.