Carrie Rengers

Bigfoot is prowling downtown Wichita, and there are social media posts to prove it

Unlike mysterious Bigfoot sightings that may or may not be in other places, Wichita has proof in the form of social media posts.

You may have already seen some, such as people posing with a more-than-7-foot Bigfoot at the Christmas tree lighting in Old Town Square Sunday night or while shopping at Lucinda’s on Monday.

Turns out, Wichita’s Bigfoot has a name: Brian Rian Bigfoot, or BRB.

“Like, ‘Be right back,’ which he may or may not be because he’s Bigfoot,” says Emily Brookover, who is something of his surrogate mother while Brian is visiting.

Brookover is director of community development for Downtown Wichita. She was tasked with finding “something fun, really memorable that would make people smile” for the holiday season.

She checked into Santa, Mrs. Claus and some elves, but they were awfully expensive and rather traditional as well.

Brookover fell “down the Google rabbit hole,” she says, and found Bigfoot in Southampton, N.Y., for about $1,200.

“He really wanted to try the urban life and heard that Wichita, Kansas, is the place to be.”

Brookover approached her employers with the idea of bringing him to Wichita for the holidays.

“When I think of Christmas, the first thing I think of is Bigfoot,” she told them.

“They looked at me like I was crazy.”

Like Brookover, though, everyone seems to have fallen in love with Brian at first sight.

He has two outfits, which consist of a hat and scarf. Otherwise, Brian is au naturel.

“I’ve been sewing in the office,” Brookover says. “Nobody sells 40 XL hats and scarves.”

One set is plaid, the other is buffalo check.

“He likes flannel,” Brookover says.

Brian is made of resin fiberglass, “so he’s really strong, but lightweight, thank God.”

That’s crucial, because he’s going to be hopping around to different downtown spots throughout the holiday season.

Lucinda’s already happens to carry Bigfoot merchandise, so the shop is a natural fit.

Brian’s future moves will be kept secret for some “Where’s Waldo” kind of fun.

You can follow his shenanigans on Downtown Wichita’s social media pages, and anyone who meets him is encouraged to use the hashtags #BigFootBrian and #DowntownWichita on their posts.

Brookover says Brian is a recent college grad from BU — Bigfoot University, just outside of Southampton — and is “just ready to kind of get out and explore.”

She says he’s enjoyed Wichita so far.

“He was not impressed with the wind, but he is much happier now that the wind has calmed down.”

Brookover adds, “He is a vegan, so he really likes that downtown has so many vegan food options.”

After the holidays, she says Brian “is probably going to go back to New York, his hometown, to check in with his family.”

He’s likely to make other appearances throughout the year, though, and Brookover sincerely hopes he’ll become a downtown Wichita Christmas tradition.

“He’s just everything we could have wanted.”

Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.
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