By Dean Midyette

Pioneer Staff

July 1st, 1917 marked the first official sighting of a sasquatch (also known locally as Bigfoot) by settlers in the West Kootenays, about 60 kilometres north of Creston.

The legend of the sasquatch, or local variants, began hundreds of years ago, passed along through oral history from Aboriginal peoples throughout the world, with the North American stories centered in the Pacific Northwest.

Some of the mythology describes the beasts as powerful and huge while others, like the Ebu Gogo in Indonesia, are described as short and wiry. Many are described as mammalian while others are purported to be supernatural beings or shapeshifters.

Much of the coastal folklore identifies the appearance of the creatures with drownings or with them being attracted to poorly behaved children. Sightings have now been reported in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario as well as along the American West Coast.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the initial sighting, the Canadian government is encouraging men to cease grooming or manscaping during the three-month period between April 1st and July 1st. If you need to bathe, do so in a lake or river.

The government is also asking that men and women spend more time in the backcountry, foraging for roots and grubs. While in the backcountry, they should avoid contact with others at all cost. Leaving large footprints is OK.

The celebration culminates on July 1st with festivities being held across Canada, with the government providing additional funding for fireworks in municipalities both large and small. Locally, there will be a parade down Invermeres main street.

We encourage locals to dress up, and if you see a sasquatch on July 1st, submit a photo to The Pioneer, preferably out of focus.