NOXEN — Sunny skies and slithering snakes brought a crowd out to the borough’s fairgrounds on Sunday for the final day of the annual Rattlesnake Roundup.
“It’s been great weather, both for rattle hunting and for families to come out and enjoy the event,” said Lew Hackling, Noxen fire chief and roundup committee member. He added that turnout for this year’s event has been great.
The annual four-day event, which was first held in 1973, benefits the Noxen Fire Department and other local organizations.
“I came down because my family comes every year,” said Katelyn Whalen, who traveled to the event from Binghamton, New York. “I guess I wanted to be surrounded by rattlesnakes … and potato pancakes.”
Whalen said she loves snakes.
“I can’t believe I was able to touch a rattlesnake,” she gushed.
Whalen wasn’t the only one wanting to be surrounded by snakes. As a crowd gathered around the area enclosing the snakes, many took photos and raised their children up to take a glimpse of the normally feared reptiles.
Hackling stood inside the fenced-in area, wrangling, measuring and counting the snakes before they were released back into the wild.
He said that in order to capture the snakes, hunters must have a valid fishing license and a snake-hunting permit, which can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Throughout the week a total of 39 snakes were captured, including eight copperheads and 20 non-poisonous snakes. The longest snake captured was a black rat snake, measuring 77 1/2 inches.
There was plenty more to do than see the snakes, however.
Vendors covered a good portion of the fairgrounds, selling hunting apparel, home goods and handmade crafts. Food stands were also on site, serving up ice cream to combat the heat and humidity along with hot dogs, hamburgers, pierogis and Whalen’s favorite, potato pancakes.
Children could create their own masterpieces of sand art, and face-paining was also a hit. Rides and bounce houses were also on site.
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