It’s not just snakes anymore at the annual Evans County Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival. Several years ago, the Evans County Wildlife Club expanded the event to include educational displays and demonstrations that showcase other local wildlife as well.
The 49th Annual Evans County Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival is slated for this weekend, March 12 and 13, at the Evans County Wildlife Club’s headquarters at 502 Cedar Ave. in Hagan. Sponsored by the club as well as Coca-Cola and NeSmith Chevrolet, the event has “expanded to a full wildlife festival with new shows and live animals,” said Heather Dykes, club spokesperson.
The event kicks off with the Miss Evans County Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival Pageant on Friday, March 11. There will be 10 contestants, and the queen will be crowned during the festival at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dykes said.
The fun begins Saturday at 8:15 a.m. with the Rattlesnake Run, which has 10K, 5K and 1-mile options. The run begins at the Claxton Veterans Community Center on West Main Street in Claxton.
A parade with more than 200 expected entries will meander through downtown Claxton, starting at the intersection of Highways 280 and 301, Dykes said. The festival grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
There will be more than 150 vendors offering food, arts and crafts and other merchandise. Of course, there will be snake handling demonstrations, as well as a variety of live entertainment, a rock climbing wall, a zip line, a National Wild Turkey Federation turkey calling contest and a kid’s bass fishing rodeo, Dykes said.
Representatives from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Southern University’s Raptor Center will also conduct presentations, she said.
“We’re excited to offer such a wide variety of wildlife again this year,” said Terry McCorkle, Evans County Wildlife Club president. “Of course we will have a large collection of rattlesnakes and endangered snakes for everyone to see, as we have for the past 49 years.”
Admission to the festival is $7, and kids 5 and under admitted free. Tickets may be purchased online at www.claxtonga.eventbrite.com or at the gate. Parking is free.
For additional information, call (912) 738-3820 or go to www.evanscountywildlifeclub.com.