One of my favorite things at ECHO is our celebration of the local lake-monster, Champ.  For two weeks at the end of February we celebrated ...

What do you think Champ does in Lake Champlain?

One of my favorite things at ECHO is our celebration of the local lake-monster, Champ.  For two weeks at the end of February we celebrated all- things-Champ with ChampFEST and it was amazing!  

Though the scientific evidence suggesting the viability of a lake monster may be questionable, our program, Believer or Skeptic allowed our guests to explore the evidence we do
Lake-made Champ driftwood (c) ECHO G. Smart
have. We dived deep into the
unexplained through our talks on Cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, and we had the most famous photograph of Champ on display to the public for the first time ever! The photograph, taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi, was available for public viewing during the final week of ChampFEST. We wanted our guests to examine this piece of evidence with their own eyes.

To me, the best part of ChampFEST is exploring more than the science. At ChampFEST we talked about history and culture in ways that are sometimes overlooked. Scientifically supported or not, Champ is a part of our lives here in the Champlain Basin in stories, sports, books and legend. Visitors shared their accounts and experiences with Champ with us every day. In fact, here is a video clip from the WCAX TV news featuring some of our guests and their interpretation of Champ!

A wall of Champ stories
This year we wanted a way to record what people thought about Champ so we set up giant post-it notes, markers and asked people “What do you think Champ does in Lake Champlain?” None of us expected the hundreds of responses or the diversity of their content. People of all ages drew pictures and wrote stories about what they thought Champ does. Some of the comments were thoughtful, some were solution based, some focused on lack evidence or proof of Champ’s existence. Some were just plain cute, suggesting that Champ spends his days playing and doing cannon balls into the lake.  We enjoyed the whimsical notes such as the one that suggested Champ spends his days catching dragonflies with his tongue. No matter the sentiment, we were all blown away by how much people had to say about Champ and we were amazed at the artistic talent and creativity guests shared with us. 

Close up of Champ "in action"

We're already all excited for next year’s ChampFEST! In the meantime, be sure to visit ECHO in August when we celebrate Champ's birthday week (August 6-observed) August 2 through 10th. 

I can’t wait to see what you'll share with us then!

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