WAURIKA, OK (KSWO) - Waurika's 57th annual rattlesnake festival kicked off Thursday.
The festival is a tradition for many in the area, and the funds it raises helps the Waurika Volunteer Fire Department buy the equipment it needs.
Officials with the fire department said they expect to see around 50,000 people in Waurika through the weekend. One of those attendees, Jim Howard, said he's gone at least 50 of the 57 years the festival has run.
"I used to ride all the rides but I'm not too big on rides anymore," Howard said.
Now, Howard comes to support the volunteer fire department in their biggest fundraiser of the year and brings his grandkids with him.
The festival features several snake-theme event for attendees to have fun with. In the thrill show, a snake handler will teaches audience about snake safety – as well do a couple thrills like kissing a snake for the crowd.
But for anyone wanting avoid snakes, there are vendors and bands at the festival too.
Officials said Ron Roberts is the vendor that's been here the longest at nearly thirty years. Roberts is retired and travels with his wife making custom decals and license plates.
"We enjoy our time down here with the people and we make a little money at the same time," Roberts said. "We work four rattlesnake hunts every year and they're always good."
The rattlesnake festival goes until Sunday. The hours for Friday and Saturday are 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.