Burlington celebrates legendary Lake Champlain monster’s birthday

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 3:39 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There was a monster of a birthday party on Wednesday for Lake Champlain’s very own creature, as the ECHO Leahy Center celebrated Champ.

“Folks can go upstairs and create a birthday card for Champ. They can imagine what Champ looks like and put together some full pieces to create Champ,” said Caitlin Blake of the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.

There were lots of ways to celebrate at the Burlington museum, from fishing for Champ to music or making pins and masks with champ on them.

And in true birthday party fashion, there was plenty of cake.

“I got chocolate and it was really yummy,” said Billy, 5, who was one of many kids celebrating the big day for the local lake monster.

Billy guesses Champ is around 1,582 years old.

Lamorra, 7, had another more flattering guess for the creature’s age.

“Ten,” Lamorra said.

ECHO says nobody can be too sure just how old he is.

“It depends on what you believe about Champ,” Blake said. “If you believe that he’s a plesiosaur, he might be about 65 million years old. If you think that he’s always lived in this area, you might say he’s about 10,000 years old.”

Since 1819, there have been about 300 alleged sightings of Champ, one of which is captured in an iconic photograph by Sandra Mansi in 1977, only on display in-person each year on Champ’s birthday.

Since nobody has ever met him, it can be hard to know when he was actually born, but that won’t stop his fans from celebrating every August.

“I’ve never been able to ask Champ, but we’ve got to choose a day don’t we?” Blake said.

Although the picture believed to be Champ from 1977 is only on display on Champ’s birthday each year, ECHO always has a Champ exhibit.

And you can always keep your eyes peeled for him by the lake.

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