Marion, NC (AP) – He goes by many different names and is feared by some, but in one North Carolina mountain town, Bigfoot is celebrated.

The Charlotte Observer reports the town of Marion has proclaimed the elusive creature its “official animal,’’ following a reported sighting last year.

The largely ceremonial proclamation takes effect Sept. 8, the day of a Bigfoot festival that intends to assemble proof of the creature’s existence.

John Bruner is the founder of Bigfoot 911. He says he was with the group last August when they spotted a large creature “covered in hair’’ in a forested area. He pitched the proclamation to town officials after Whitehall, New York, did something similar in July.

Mayor Stephen Little says he has yet to catch sight of Bigfoot, but anyone who visits Marion might see one.