Preparations underway for 49th annual Rattlesnake and Wildlife F - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Preparations underway for 49th annual Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Preparations for Claxton's biggest weekend of the year have already started.

They expect 15,000 to 20,000 visitors for the 49th annual Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival.

If you come to the Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival this weekend, you won't see much open space. Vendors will cover the grounds with plenty to see and plenty to do.

Organizers spend 12 months a year getting this weekend ready. They're still amazed a near-tragedy has turned into something so positive.

Rewind 50 years or so when a rattlesnake bit a young boy named David Wiggins in a corn field. The boy nearly died because the medicine from the snake venom was in such short supply.

“When David got bit, lots of people came together and said we've got to do something to round this up,” said Terry McCorkle, Evans Co. Wildlife Club.

Organized snake hunting turned to a festival. But it's now more about wildlife education.

Groups ranging from DNR to Georgia Southern come to teach about South Georgia animals and why each plays a role in the environment. They've kept the arts and crafts and live entertainment to make it one of the biggest festivals around.

“It gives us a chance to showcase Evans County and all its communities. We make an effort to put our best face forward, so to speak, and make sure people have a good time,” said Claxton Mayor Terry Branch.

They hope people who enjoy the weekend come back again through the year. McCorkle says the festival helps the Wildlife Club give back to the community that supports them.

“Our club gives scholarships. This facility gets used by just about every civic club and group in the county,” said McCorkle.

So come out this weekend for plenty of live entertainment, attractions and South Georgia fun.

You can join Dal and Claxton's own Adam Kennedy for the Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival Parade live on WTOC or this Saturday at 10 p.m.

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