For centuries, travelers on Lake Pepin have caught glimpses of a frightening sea serpent roiling the waters. Now, at long last, the creature has been captured: as a graphic design by Twin Cities artist Jon Hunt. The eye-catching image is the new logo for the ninth annual Flyway Film Festival on the shores of Lake Pepin, which will take place from October 19 – 23, 2016.
Hunt first learned about the legend of “Pepie,” the Lake Pepin monster, from Flyway Film Festival Operations Director Diana Vaicius, with whom he shares a fondness for creepy, unexplained phenomena.
“I’m totally fascinated with cryptozoology,” says Hunt, referring to the study of mysterious creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Pepie. “There are only a couple of ‘confirmed’ lake monsters in America, and Pepie is one of them.”
When Hunt shared a first draft of his logo design with Diana Vaicius, she suggested that he take it up a notch.
“It’s a monster, after all,” says Vaicius. “The first image looked a bit too friendly.” Hunt agreed, and the final image resembles a moderately scary monster from 1950’s-era horror films.
Early sightings of a Lake Pepin sea creature date back to the late 1600s, when Father Louis Hennepin was exploring the Mississippi River. Indians were said to use only strong wooden boats on Lake Pepin because the creature could pierce through birchbark canoes. Local newspapers have published fairly regular accounts of “a lake monster seen swimming in Lake Pepin” since the 1860s.
The Flyway Film Festival has featured a new graphic design each year since its inception in 2008. Hunt was delighted that he could combine his interest in Lake Pepin lore with the promotion of the Flyway.
“I’m a huge fan of the film festival and of what it’s brought to the Lake Pepin area,” says Hunt. “Now if we can get some proof that Pepie really exists, I’ll be a happy man.”