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Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival opens Saturday
Event celebrating 50th year
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Visitors this weekend to the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival will find live music, craft vendors, a turkey calling contest and plenty of wildlife exhibits and demonstrations.

Hosted by the Evans County Wildlife Club, the event is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The weekend kicks off with a parade Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and the festival grounds open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. that evening, according to the club's website (www.evans

The grounds reopen Sunday at 10 a.m. and will remain open until 5 p.m.

Admission is $7, with kids 5 and under admitted free.

The event was created after a Claxton boy was bitten by a rattlesnake and residents started a "rattlesnake roundup" in which rattlers were hunted, milked for venom to make antivenom and placed on display during the festival. The pit filled with snakes, rattlers buzzing, has always been a great attraction, but in 2012, the event's name was changed to incorporate education of all wildlife, according to the site.

The two-day event hosts several food and craft vendors as well as live entertainment and educational wildlife displays and demonstrations.

Schedule of events

9 a.m. - DNR Education Show (snake pit)
10:30 a.m. - Eastern Diamondback Conservation (snake pit)
11:30 a.m. - Chehaw Education Program (snake pit)
Noon - Georgia Reptile Adventures (snake pit), the Southpaw Band (stage)
1 p.m. - Raptors Program with Flight Show (inside)
2 p.m. - Orianne Society Education Show (snake pit), awards and crowning of the festival queen (stage)
2:30 p.m. - Line Dance Fever (stage), Reptile Program (inside)
3 p.m - DNR Education Show (snake pit), Dancer's Edge (stage)
3:30 p.m. - State Prison Cloggers (stage)
4 p.m. - Central Florida Zoo Education Show (snake pit), All Star Martial Arts (stage), Raptors Program with Flight Show (inside)

11 a.m. - Georgia Reptile Adventures (snake pit)
11:30 a.m. - Turkey Calling Contest (inside)
Noon - Heartland Express (stage)
12:30 p.m. - Orianne Society Education Show (snake pit)
1 p.m. - Faith Ayala (stage)
2 p.m. - Studio South Dance Academy (stage), DNR Education Show (snake pit)
3 p.m. - Kindred Spirits (stage), Central Florida Zoo Education Show (snake pit)
4 p.m. - Chehaw Education Show (snake pit)



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