From guest writer, Emily Wilberg…

Cambridge, Ohio may not be on the top of your list of vacation spots, but we go a couple times a year. For one thing, I have family history there as it is where my mother and her mother grew up. For another… well, we will get to that.

Cambridge, Ohio has a historic downtown that has several little shops and antique stores. Be sure to stop in to Kennedy’s Bakery which has been there over 100 years, and also you can not go wrong with Theo’s Restaurant for pie- a million kinds of pie. I haven’t tried all of them but I’m doing my best to do so.

In November and December, they turn the downtown area into Dicken’s Historic Village with community events such as high tea and scavenger hunts. Also, creepy mannequins. They are meant to be quaint, I think, but you be the judge.

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But, family, antiques, pie, and creepy Victorian statues aside, the BEST reason to go to Cambridge, Ohio is SALT FORK STATE PARK. There are hikes, there is a lake, there are cabins, there is a lodge. And if you go the first weekend in May there is the (***drumroll, please***)

OHIO BIGFOOT CONFERENCE.

Whoop, whoop! First a few words about the lodge. It’s gorgeous- I can think of no better place to hang around for a few days. Beautiful views of the lake, and several fireplace gathering spots. The food in the restaurant was consistently good and I had something amazing called a “Pork McCheese” that I am still dreaming about. Also, they have about the best bigfoot gift shop I’ve seen anywhere.

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This is the third year we have attended the conference and we already are planning to go back next year. It is such an interesting event and group of people. All kinds of people- sure, lots of people in camouflage, but also a wide range of ages. Surprisingly, not as many kids are you might think. One thing that struck me is that this group is the least judgmental group of people I know. Which is kind of funny because everyone out there is judging them like crazy. They also laugh at themselves. Because it is supposed to be FUN. If you aren’t having fun, why do anything?

In my opinion it is absolutely worth the price of a VIP ticket (which is not easy to get- they go on sale early December the year before and sell out in minutes) because it allows you to attend the VIP dinner on Friday night. We have had such interesting conversations- once with a guy who had seen Bigfoot twenty years before and his story sent shivers up my spine. I don’t know what he saw, but I am convinced that HE is convinced.

On Saturday there is a vendor’s area in the morning (totally free and totally fun) and then speakers in the afternoon. Even if you can’t score VIP tickets, it is still worth attending with an overflow ticket. Sometimes they have celebrities (this year was Cliff Barackman and Bobo Faye from Finding Bigfoot), sometimes they have Bigfooting legends (one year it was Bob Gimlin, who shot the famous film everyone knows), and sometimes it is academics (like Dr. Jeff Meldrum, professor of anthropology and biology at Idaho State University.) No matter who is speaking, it is always interesting. To quote Cliff, “I don’t have answers- I just have questions.”

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On Sunday there is a Bigfoot festival which has demonstrations and picnic food and a whole lot of just hanging around with fun people. The weather can be iffy in early May- be aware it may be cold. My favorite part was watching the chainsaw artists in action.

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There are other events during the weekend as well, such as hikes and a movie showing. And the park itself is worth a drive around- you can drive up to “Bigfoot Ridge” the primitive campground that has seen a lot of bigfoot action, and there is a creepy little cemetery that I adore (and have ancestors buried in as well.) Keep an open mind and open eyes during your visit to Salt Fork State Park and maybe YOU will be the one telling the bigfoot stories next year!

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