HONOBIA, OKLAHOMA -- The surrounding forest was quiet Thursday morning, but organizers and exhibitors at the annual Honobia Bigfoot Festival and Conference were already setting up.
"All of the vendors will come in today," says festival director Jolly Winsor. "All of the campers will come in."
She had guys moving chairs.
The T-shirt stand was up, and a jar set out for the scholarship fund.
There is a Bigfoot Scholarship.
Winsor says, "In this area the economy is so depressed so we wanted to figure out a way to help the kids get a higher education."
A little more than 30 miles to the east Senior English students at Clayton High School busied themselves more with Olde English in the Canterbury Tales as opposed to the old legends of Bigfoot.
Tyler Mancon has already heard all the local legends.
"Bigfoot is a big part of the mythology of this area," he points out.
Both he and fellow senior Whitney Davis have college plans in place for next year.
"I want to go to Eastern Oklahoma College and do the nursing program," she says.
Seniors in three Southeast Oklahoma communities can write essays and dip into a Bigfoot Scholarship fund that's raised more than $18,000 in the past four years.
"It helped me out a lot because, growing up, I was poor," says scholarship recipient Katie Austin.
Austin and another local college student, Kylee Simpson, were among the first to receive the scholarships.
It might look a little funny on their college resumes but Bigfoot money is still green.
"It may be funny but they don't have to do that," continues Katie Austin. "They don't have to give scholarships to kids around here for stuff like that and they do so it's super helpful."
Think what you want about whether Bigfoot is a real creature roaming among the Kiamichi Mountains.
Local investigator Farlan Huff is sure he saw one right after last year's festival.
"I can't tell you for sure it was a Bigfoot," he says, "But I can't imagine what else it was."
Students around here, in particular, like to think he's waving to them from the trees, wishing them good luck on their higher education.
For more information on the Honobia Bigfoot Festival or their scholarship program go to www.honobiabigfoot.com