UPDATE (11 a.m. on Sept. 19): According to the Mason County Tourism Center, more than 20,000 people attended the festival on Saturday.

They also say that Friday saw a record crowd and that Sunday’s crowd was as big as previous Saturday crowds. More than 25,000 people visited Point Pleasant this past weekend, with at least 95% of them being from out of state.

The tourism center says that this was a multi-million dollar weekend for merchants.

POINT PLEASANT, WV (WOWK) – This is a big weekend for downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia and surrounding communities as the Mothman Festival gets underway. Most of the day Friday was spent setting up and getting all of the vendors in place as they prepared for thousands of visitors.

“I’ve got some expectations but generally I’m ready to be surprised,” said Aura Vogler. She traveled all the way from Central Arkansas for the festival. “I don’t even know that much about the legend of Mothman but I am pretty terminally online and Mothman is kind of a big meme there,” she said.

On the other hand the Breeden Family from Virginia loves the Mothman but they’ve never been to Point Pleasant until now.

“There’s so many legends and stuff to be learned,” said Maddox Gaston, there with David and Cindy Breeden from Fredricksburg, VA. “I don’t really know too much, and I wanted to learn a little bit more about it. It is pretty cool.”

There was already a line forming at the Mothman Museum Friday afternoon, and the sidewalks were already packed. The famous Mothman statue is one of the highlights for people hoping to snap a picture.

Downtown businesses embrace the idea by offering Mothman related items.

“Well when we went in the coffee shop they had Mothman cookies and cupcakes and all kinds of stuff,” Cindy Breeden said.

With the nice weather and the fact that the festival took a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, organizers are expecting a huge crowd of 12,000 to 15,000 visitors. Many of those visitors dip into their wallet to shop and eating in the area.

“When I first started coming to Point Pleasant it was kind of like a ghost town. The museum was in a different building. It was quite smaller. There were a lot of store fronts that had no businesses in them,” said paranormal investigator Emily Mittermaier. “Now it is booming not just during the festival but throughout the year.”

The red eyed, winged creature continues to entertain and fascinate people of all ages year after year.

“It is really fun. I feel like I’m among other people who really get it,” Vogler said.

If you’re now excited to celebrate Mothman, the festival runs from September 17 to 18. Parking is available at Krodel Park in Point Pleasant. Organizers say visitors should be prepared to do some walking since there will be no shuttles to and from the festival.

You can find out more details about the event here.