Ok, I know what you’re thinking: Rattlesnake festival? As in snakes everywhere? As in cages of snakes lined up along the streets?
No, no. It wasn’t a festival of ONLY snakes; it was a festival filled with music, Native American dancing, food, rides, and well, snakes!
When I first moved to Oklahoma, I became besotted with Native American history. The festival today was in Apache, Oklahoma. Apache is also the name of a Native American tribe here in Oklahoma. The Apache are a group that traditionally live in the southern plains of North America and are also centered in southwestern Oklahoma. Well, let me tell you that I just find Native Americans to be some of the most beautiful people on earth!
I arrived to the festival and made my way towards the powwow. If you don’t know what a powwow is, it’s an event where Native Americans meet, sing, socialize, dance, and honor the Native American culture. The word, “powwow,” means “spiritual leader.” I remember being in the third grade and going to a performance by Native Americans where they put on a powwow. I also remember some of the kids there having very little respect for the dancers as they so beautifully performed. I understand, the kids were young, but I never understood why they sat there giggling. I think it was because the dancers were clothed differently from us. Well, I sat there just gazing at the dancers and soaking in such a beautiful and fascinating culture; much different from my own. I found it to be one of the most stunning performances I had ever seen.
Needless to say, the powwow was my most favorite part of the festival today!
I loved to see how much energy and passion these dancers poured into their performance! It is just so uplifting and inspirational to see how passionate they are about their culture! The cutest part was watching the little children fully dressed in smaller outfits, dancing. They did it so well.
Next on the agenda was to make a pit stop at the snake pit because, I mean, you can’t go to a rattlesnake festival and not go see any snakes! I honestly can say that snakes don’t frighten me as long as they are being handled by professionals and they’re behind a wall.
Admission was only $2. I was in! A line of people waiting to get a peek of the snakes, poured out off the entrance way. One large group at a time, everyone entered the snake pit to catch a glimpse of the little beasts and learn a little more about them. Inside, there were about 20-25 snakes slithering on floor, baracaded by a wall so that people could stand over it to look at the snakes. Carefully, a trained professional handled one snake at a time and brought it around to give people a closer look. Most of the snakes were venomous, but the last one, a western coachwhip, was venom-free, so we were able to pet the tail of the snake as the trained professional handled it by the upper body.
The picture of the snake, below, is a cottonmouth watersnake. What do you think? Does this picture make you cringe?? All I know is that I will not be going off roading in the tall grasses of Oklahoma!
Did you know that some people even eat snake meat? I did, but I had never quite seen the process of how the snakes are bouchered for meat. Well, here at the festival, they showed you exactly how it’s done. Now, those of you who find this cruel and sad, if it makes you feel any better, the snakes they killed for meat were venomous. So, I mean, a few less snakes for you to get bitten by, right? As much as I would have loved to stay for the rest of the snake, meat-making show, I decided to make my way around the rest of the festival. The center of downtown Apache was filled with concession stands and vendors selling handmade jewelry, clothing, and toys for the kiddos.
I came across one man who had 4 tables lined up with jewelry, rocks, arrowheads, and stone figurines from Peru. I bought a turtle and an arrowhead.
And of course, I could not leave without stopping to get something to eat. We all know that festival food is AMAAAAZING.
Ok, and last thing: this wasn’t part of the festival, but I had previously driven by it a few weeks ago and wasn’t able to snag a picture. Below, is a picture of a Cowboy Church. How neat is that? Only something you’d find here in Midwest! Now I’m curious and would like to attend a service there to see what it’s all about.