D.B.Cooper PartyBy: © Jan Friedman 2014
Let's set the stage. D. B. Cooper is famous for one, single act - he hijacked a jet in 1971 and parachuted into the Washington night with $200,000 of ransom money tied to his waist. He disappeared forever, leaving behind a legacy as the country's only unsolved hijacking. On the edge of Lake Merwin is the tiny (pop.700) town of Ariel that became, for a time, headquarters for the search team.
Since 1974 the town has held a D.B.Cooper Party at the Aerial Store to honor their only claim to fame. Two hundred and fifty fans show up each year, with one once coming from as far away as Australia. In the five-year milestone years, that number doubles. Always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the party only lasts a day, starting around 1 PM and ending, usually, by midnight. If the guests are feeling creative, they'll start a story-telling contest, giving a prize for the best story of what might have happened to old D.B. They always have a look-alike contest, with D.B. Cooper fans showing up dressed as the hijacker was-in a suit with a backpack, a parachute, goggles, and no shoes. Otherwise they just hang around, listening to music, and keeping the story alive.
The above is an excerpt from Jan Friedman's wonderful, Eccentric America