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A small community with deep roots in the past, San Antonio’s agricultural ties can be seen in the miles of orange trees and pasture lands. Called “San Ann” by the locals, it is less than an hours drive north of Tampa. The town’s biggest claim to fame, however, is its annual Rattlesnake Festival. Running since 1967, the town’s Jaycee Club members came up with the idea of rounding up rattlesnakes and gopher tortoises as a way to entertain, educate and raise money for worthy causes.
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Snake handlers come to the event to bestow their knowledge on mesmerized onlookers, telling fascinating anecdotes about the fierce reptiles. A family-friendly event that boasts a range of fun-filled activities, here you can see educational snake lectures, get a photo op at the Butterfly Exhibit, get creative with arts and crafts vendors and feed animals at the Farm Animal Exhibit. One of the premier activities, both adults and kids alike are captivated by the Croc Encounters Demonstrations and exhibits.
The thrills don’t stop there, as you’ll also find train rides, mechanical bull rides, and pony rides. Inflatable fun is found throughout the festival, from a bounce house and jousting fun to an obstacle course and slide. Place your bets at the Wooden Gopher Tortoise Races, or do you best to show off your skills at the Corn Hole Tournament. The Farmer’s Market offers visitors the chance to take home offerings from local vendors, from exotic plants to handmade soaps and locally produced wine.
During its history, the organizers have even brought in hot-air balloons, flame dancers, live music and rock-climbing walls to keep it lively and entertaining for everyone in the family. One of its highlight events is the Rattle Snake Run, where runners come from around the area to race through San Antonio’s picturesque rolling hills. Make sure not to miss a presentation by the famous Cowboy Tom, a former rodeo cowboy and competition team roper that shows trick roping skills and tells fascinating cowboy stories.
The history of San Antonio is unique, as its story dates all the way back to February 15th, 1882 when two men walked up a pine-covered hill in what was then Hernando County. What they discovered was an uninhabited, clear lake and then carefully planned out the town, plotting streets and residential lots, setting aside land for schools, a monastery, convent, and orphans asylum. It was decided that there should be a beautiful European style public square for locals to enjoy, creating the foundation for what would eventually become one of Florida’s small town charms.