POINT PLEASANT, WV (WOWK) – The annual Mothman Festival is getting underway this weekend in Point Pleasant, West Virginia!

Many people are already making their way to the town, and event organizers say they estimate there could be as many as 15,000 visitors to the town over the weekend. WOWK 13 News Reporter Sam DeCoste was in Point Pleasant Friday, and met festival-goers from all across the country, including Massachusetts, Iowa, California and Washington State. Sam even met some international travelers from England!

Festivities don’t officially start until Saturday, Sept. 16, but the community is kicking things off in true Mothman style on Friday with a 9 p.m. showing of “The Mothman Prophecies” at the Mason County Fairground, which is in the same rural area where the winged cryptid was first seen.

The tourists who got an early start were already out and about on Main Street Friday, getting pictures with the famous Mothman Statue, visiting the Mothman Museum, and checking out the local small businesses along Main Street to find those gems of Mothman merchandise.

Director of Main Street Chris Rizer says during last year’s event, festival-goers brought in approximately $2 million to the town. Organizers say they anticipate an equally large amount this year.

The festival has something for everyone from live music and guest speakers to food trucks, vendors and even cosplay. For some visitors such as Juan Tejaba Pratt, this is their first year at the event.

“I’ve wanted to do this for years,” Pratt said. “Me and my family, we all took our days off work and made our way up here.”

Folks who live around town also enjoy the festival, sharing the charm, history and local lore of the town with visitors.

“They [the tourists] make a point of coming here, and talk about how friendly everyone is, how they love all the different shops, how there’s so many different things in the shops,” says Jackie Mollett of Point Pleasant. “When your from a little town in West Virginia, it’s great to see us on the map. There’s a lady just in from Maryland. If you look at the tags [on vehicles] people are from everywhere. People say this is there vacation.”

Event goers such as Jamie Miers and David Kennedy say its also the lure and mystery of the legend itself that makes the festival worthwhile.

“I think everyone likes the allure of something they can’t explain,” said Myers. “I think that’s the gist of it. Local folklore in itself is something that keeps it alive.”

Locals say even though the festival brings fun and an economic impact to the town, parking on Saturday could be a nightmare for event-goers. They recommend if you’re planning to go to the festival, get to town early in the morning.

Some areas to park include Charleston Road near Krodel Park or in the area near Main Street Baptist Church, as seen below.

Those making their way to town can take the Bartow Jones Bridge off Route 35, but event organizers say they are expecting heavy traffic on that route all weekend. Alternate routes include taking Route 62 from Buffalo, West Virginia. The map below shows some of the routes into the town.

The annual festival is a hit that some attendees look forward to months in advance, or even since the previous year’s festival! The Historic Lowe Hotel is the only hotel in town and the manager tells WOWK 13 News this weekend has been booked since February!

The Lowe Hotel’s manager says its the only time of the year the hotel completely sells out of rooms. The hotels across the river in Gallipolis, Ohio, are also booked up for the weekend. In fact, the closest hotel to the area with any rooms available is in Barboursville, West Virginia.