Roundup brings crowds, fun to Claxton

By Dal Cannady bio | email

CLAXTON, GA (WTOC) - Steve Smith knows the rattling reptiles are the star attraction for Claxton's annual Rattlesnake Roundup. But he added, it takes hundreds of humans from the Evans County Wildlife Club and others to make it happen.

"The whole idea is for 20,000 people to come here and have a good time and it takes a lot of people to prepare for that," explained Smith, the club's president.

In the 1960s, local hunters started the roundup after near tragedy. A small child almost died from a snake bite because antidote was in short supply. Experts now milk the displayed snakes for their venom, which goes to medical research. Since the early days, roundup organizers added arts and crafts, entertainment and more.

"We want everybody to come out and enjoy themselves because it's their show, not ours," Smith added.

And the show starts Saturday morning at ten with the parade coming through downtown Claxton on US Highway 280. At the Wildlife Club's grounds in Hagan, there's hardly a church group, civic or school club that doesn't have some part.

In turn, the Wildlife Club supports nearly every local cause as they donate the proceeds back to the community. In this economy, that's good news. Organizers and others think they may actually see a larger crowd than usual.

"It's a fun event you can bring the family out. We feel like it's an inexpensive way to spend a spring day in the South," said Chamber of Commerce executive director Tammy Hall.

Smith cautioned visitors can see as much or as little of the snakes as they want and still have fun.

WTOC will carry the parade live on television and online Saturday morning at 10am. For information on the weekend schedule, traffic and more, visit http://www.claxtonevanschamber.com/display.php?cid=9&pid=28

©2009 WTOC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.