Jennifer Smith Richards
Columbus Dispatch

Well, no — of course a Bigfoot didn’t show. They don’t want to be found, you know.

But the annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference in Cambridge went on Sunday without one of the creatures, often described as 9 feet tall, covered in hair, with thin lips and deep-set eyes that sometimes glow red in the dark.

There were, however, plaster molds of Bigfoot tracks, discussion about Ohio sightings and scientists lecturing about evidence. Folding tables displayed camouflage-painted Sasquatch-recording devices and Bigfoot-shaped cookies. Lila Slatzer had a cookie cutter custom-made.

“Every year, I bake a couple hundred cookies, come here and sell my wares,” said Slatzer, who, along with her husband, has been hunting a Bigfoot for about 30 years.

Cookie price: $1 each.

The conference has been around for more than 20 years. Some of the 300-or-so conference attendees consider themselves “die-hard” Bigfoot trackers. Some have had experiences — they know something lurks in the woods because they’ve seen it. Others are simply open to the idea that an apelike creature lives among us, rarely detected.

“‘There’s the dyed-in-the-wool kind,” said Jackie Baker, who traveled to the conference from Akron. “I’m not die-hard. I’m just curious.”

Slatzer said, “I think everybody, in the back of their mind, believes that there is something out there. There has to be.”

All of them take the topic seriously. No grainy Sasquatch videos are played, and no one shows up in a goofy Bigfoot suit.

“Bigfoot’s not a laugh anymore. It’s not a joke. There are more and more people looking,” said Marc DeWerth, conference organizer and president of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization. ‘Nowadays, you experience Bigfoot, and you’re put up on a pedestal. You could probably dot the ‘i’ at an Ohio State football game.”

Several attendees said they’ve spotted a Sasquatch. (Feel free to use Bigfoot and Sasquatch interchangeably, they say.)

Speakers at the conference included a wildlife biologist from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, who lectured about scientists’ reluctance to accept Bigfoot-related evidence.