Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk
Running for more than 45 years, the Noxen Rattlesnake Roundup once again packed the carnival grounds of the Noxen Volunteer Fire Company, which benefits from its proceeds. According to chief Lew Hackling, it is the company’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Hunters certified by the PA Fish & Game Commission search the woods around Noxen each year and bring the most and biggest snakes they can find to the festival on Saturday. On Sunday, they are released as close to where they were found as possible. The event ran for four nights, as well as from 1 to 10 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Though there were numerous activities that did not included snakes, the focal point for most guests continues to be the snake enclosure, where captured snakes are tagged for location, then measured for the competition. Snake handlers provided opportunities for rattler fans and the curious to safely touch the reptiles, the dangerous heads of which were temporarily sleeved.
Prizes awarded include those for the snake with the most rattles, heaviest snake and for light- and dark-faced rattlers. In addition to satisfying the fascination of returning Roundup fans, the event has an ecological angle by educating people about the nearly endangered creatures and recording recaptures, which accounts for about a sixth of the snakes brought in each year.
Those surrounding the snake pen had opportunities to purchase raffle tickets to win posters, T-shirts and other fun prizes.
Musical guests included Whiskey n Woods, Strawberry Jam, Shelly’s Underground, Flaxy Morgan and DJs Madman Mike and Raymond Phillips. Saturday’s highlight was a fireman’s parade through the village of Noxen, and the event culminated on Sunday with a fireworks display.
Additional photos by Rick Hiduk: