How often do you hop in the car and drive to different towns to experience small-town festivals?   It's an adventure definitely worth the trip.

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Most weekends you find yourself staying home and doing house or yard work. Maybe you're chasing the kids around going to different sporting events.

This past weekend my family and I went east on I-40 past Shamrock to Sayre, OK and then south to a small town called Mangum, Oklahoma.

Why would you drive 2 1/2 hours to a tiny town in Oklahoma?


My fella grew up near the small town of Mangum and would talk about going to this rattlesnake derby as a kid. He wanted us to experience the fun. So we piled into the car and drove almost 2 1/2 hours to Oklahoma.

When we first arrived in Mangum it was your typical small town. We drove to the square in the middle of town, found parking, and then the fun began.

The square was filled with vendors on every side and corner. It reminded me of the Canyon Farmers Market, but on a larger scale.   They were selling everything from hats and t-shirts, knives to salsa, toys, and even plants. One side was filled with food trucks of every cuisine you could imagine.

We walked around checking things out and there it was, a big white tent. Inside the tent were hundreds of rattlesnakes all behind a fence of plexiglass and two men just walking around amongst the slithery nope ropes.

Lori Crofford
Lori Crofford

We watched one man walk around holding a rattlesnake and showing off its fangs. While the other told stories of the wrangle.

On the next round, it was time to show off the rattles. All the while watching hundreds of these snakes coiled up and shaking their rattles.  A rattlesnake even tried to attack my fella's boots, but the plexiglass blocked the attempt to shoot venom into his skin.

Definitely an Indiana Jones nightmare!

It was time to leave the tent and explore further. The Fella took us into a building and walking in a certain smell hit you. Then it dawned on me he brought us into a place that was frying up rattlesnakes.

Nope. No. Uh-uh. Forget it.

I politely declined his push to eat fried rattlesnake  I’m sure it tasted like chicken however as I watched other people delve into this delicacy it reminded me of fish flaking off a bone   No, I did not try one single bite.

Lori Crofford
Lori Crofford

They even had an area where you could watch the snake being prepared to eat from beginning to end. Again, I politely declined this adventure.

Back outside we went and ventured off the square to find they had a carnival with rides and games which made this festival fun for the entire family.

Lori Crofford
Lori Crofford

As our tummies began to rumble after the smell of frying rattlesnakes vacated my nose, we ventured to the many food trucks for lunch. One of our crew chose a Greek gyro, the other a BBQ Sandwich, and I, my beloved street tacos.

We walked around a little while longer to finish looking at the remaining booths and even other caged rattlesnakes. We opted against the photo opportunity with a snake and said goodbye to Mangum and ventured home.

The round trip drive time was a little less than 5 hours with 2 1/2 hours of rattlesnake fun.

It will be a memory to cherish because it was a fun trip with the family and a bit of nostalgia for an adult sharing his childhood memories.

When next April rolls around, keep your eyes and ears open for a rattlesnake derby in the small town of Mangum, Oklahoma, and make the drive for some family rattlesnake fun.

Mangum, Oklahoma Rattlesnake Derby

Every year in Mangum, OK they hold the Rattlesnake Derby in the town square. The festival includes vendors, food trucks, and a carnival.

Oh and a bunch of rattlesnakes.

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