The annual Noxen Rattesnake Roundup, the primary fundraiser for the Noxen Volunteer Fire Department, which will be held this Thursday and run through Sunday, June 15-18, on the fire company grounds, 3493 Stull Road, Noxen.
The event, which started in 1972, is expected to attract 5,000 to 10,000 people, with rattlesnakes serving as the main attraction.
Last year’s roundup brought in 39 rattlesnakes from 59 registered hunters, and also yielded eight poisonous copperheads and 20 nonvenomous snakes.
Some of the snakes will be recaptures, but many new faces — and rattles — are expected to be on display over the weekend.
Once brought in, the reptiles go through a short identification process by being weighed, measured for length, counted for rattles, and given a unique individual marking, usually with paint, so that the snakes are returned to their rightful owners before being released back into the wild.
The snakes will be protected at the roundup, and all reptiles collected are released back into their natural habitat, unharmed.
Hunters, who are licensed by the Fish and Boat Commission, will go out Saturday and/or Sunday morning, hoping to find what will be a prize-winning snake.
Those looking to bring in rattlesnakes at the event will have to adhere to the Fish and Boat Commission’s restrictions on snake size at 42 inches, and will have to pay for a license costing $25.
Each hunter will also be limited to one rattler.
Prizes will be given on both Saturday and Sunday for the largest light phase rattler, the largest dark phase rattler, the snake with the most rattles, the heaviest rattlesnake, the largest copperhead and the largest number of species.
In addition to the snakes, there is nightly entertainment, food vendors and more.
The grounds will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, with music by the Eric Sperazza Band from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
On Friday, June 16, grounds open at 6 p.m., with music by Strawberry Jam from 7 to 11 p.m.
On Saturday, June 17, grounds open at 1 p.m., music by DJ Mad Mike is from 1 to 2 p.m., educational snake displays are offered in the afternoon, a parade is at 6 p.m. and live music by Cool Ride is from 7 to 11 p.m..
Presentations on the facts and figures of snakes will be provided throughout the afternoon hours of the weekend, as well as several visual displays and posters to help in the education of some of the common venomous and non-venomous snakes which inhabit Pennsylvania’s mountains and woodlands.
Those species include timber rattlesnakes, the largest venomous snakes in Pennsylvania, and the northern copperhead, Pennsylvania’s most common venomous snake, which can be found in virtually all counties except the most northern reaches of the state in rocky hillsides, foundations and rock walls, and even living in den sites with timber rattlesnakes, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Sunday, June 18 and Father’s Day, grounds open at 1 p.m. with music by DJ Ray Toonz until 5, educational snake displays in the afternoon, and live music by Shelly’s Underground from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
A fireworks display by Pizza Paul Fireworks will also be held at 9:30 p.m. prior to the closing of the fair.
The roundup has been a Back Mountain/Wyoming County tradition for more than four decades.
From 1972 through 1984, it was hosted by the Noxen-Monroe Sportsmen Association, according to noxenpa.com, the community’s website. The Noxen Volunteer Fire Department then took over in 1986.
The event is held rain or shine, and more information can be found by contacting Noxen borough manager Cathy Pauley, 570-298-2052 or by visiting their Facebook page or www.noxenpa.com.