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Claxton Rattlesnake Festival set for this weekend

Claxton Rattlesnake Festival set for this weekend

Claxton Rattlesnake Festival set for this weekend

Actor John Schneider, a.k.a. "Bo Duke...

The Evans County Wildlife Club will host the 47th Annual Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival on Saturday and Sunday at the Wildlife Club festival grounds, at 501 Cedar Avenue in Hagan.

The festival began 47 years ago after a local youth was bitten by a rattlesnake and nearly died because of a lack of antivenom. Local men of the community decided to catch rattlesnakes so the slithery creatures could be milked and more antivenom would be available.

Though snakes are no longer caught for that purpose, they are still one of the main attractions of the event. Wildlife conservation has become the theme in recent years. What was formerly known as the Claxton Rattlesnake Roundup has been expanded to include numerous wildlife exhibits and demonstrations. Organizations from throughout the state, such as the Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Southern University Wildlife Center, Zoo Atlanta, Let's Get Wild and Quails Unlimited, will join the Evans County Wildlife Club to promote wildlife conservation and provide educational opportunities.

The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday with the Miss Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival Pageant, at the Evans County Wildlife Club. Eight senior girls from Evans County will vie for the title of Miss Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival Queen in interview, sportswear and evening gown competition. In keeping with the festival's tradition, the queen will not be announced until Saturday afternoon at the festival. The 2013 reigning queen, Miss Harley Strickland, and Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis, will assist in the crowning.

Festival hours are 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission for adults is $6; children 5 and younger are admitted free.

Actor John Schneider, a.k.a. "Bo Duke" from the classic television series "The Dukes of Hazzard," will make a guest appearance at the festival on Saturday, courtesy of the Evans County Wildlife Club and the Claxton Downtown Development Authority. Schneider will ride in a replica of the General Lee in the festival parade, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Claxton. Following the parade, he will meet with fans at event headquarters for autographs and opportunities for posed photographs.

Other festival attractions include hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, children's games and activities, live entertainment, snake handling demonstrations by professional snake handler Steve Scruggs, the National Wild Turkey Foundation-sanctioned turkey calling contest, DNR shooting simulator, local bass club fishing rodeo and Georgia Southern University's Birds of Prey Flight demonstrations.

The Evans County Wildlife Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation. The club provides college scholarships and donates annually to local, regional, and national groups and organizations. For more information on the club or the Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, call (912) 739-3820, or visit


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