Whistlin Dixie

Ever date someone who's warm, smart, cute, and fun, yet still has the weirdest damn habits?

Sure she's cute.
But she's also into LARPing and will probably ask you to wear elf ears during sex.
That's kind of what it's like to live in Georgia...

I'm pretty committed to our relationship. (Even if I do occasionally cheat on her with Michigan. Shh! Don't tell!) But aside from various political leanings, I really love Georgia. Mostly because of the climate, partly due to the people. Yet for all it's charm, there are still a few things about this state that are cause for an involuntary head tilt.
I see what's going on. I just don't understand it.
We're talking about an area that enjoys such events as the Claxton Rattlesnake Roundup.
And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.
Apparently, rattlers were something of a problem in "Fruitcake Capital of the World" Claxton, Georgia.
It all began in 1967.
Eight-year old David Wiggins was in a field picking vegetables when he was bitten by an eastern diamondback. Although anti-venom treatment wasn't available at the time, the boy survived the bite, yet took a full year to recover.

I like to imagine him lying in bed, plotting on just how to exact his revenge against those venomous vipers.
No quarter shall be given.
Inspired by David's brush with death, the first rattlesnake roundup took place once he recovered, almost exactly a year later, bringing in a total of 48 snakes.

It has since turned into a huge festival, where hunters net hundreds of snakes, which are then sold, traded, or killed.

But mostly killed.

While there, you can view the snakes, partake in some rattler on a stick...

With pineapples!
...or, if you're fetching enough, compete for the title of Rattlesnake Roundup Queen.

I guess?
But perhaps those slithery serpents are a little too lively for you.

And really, who could blame you?

In that case, why not make Tallapoosa Georgia your exotic New Years Eve destination?

Excitement awaits!
Times Square's New Years Eve ball drop has been going strong for over a century and is mimicked by various other cities across the U.S.

However, Tallapoosa gives theirs a very unexpected twist.

Suspended by his tail, inside a plastic ball clumsily strung with Christmas lights, former roadkill specimen "Spencer the Possum" is lowered over the heads of revelers, welcoming the new year.
Very cosmopolitan.
The celebration also includes live music, fireworks, and the crowning of a Possum King and Queen.

Clearly, Georgia knows how to party.
And speaking of awkward holiday celebrations, the state employees of Georgia recently had a three day holiday weekend. Can you guess what it was?

Confederate Memorial Day, bitches!
Sorry, no time for guesses.
I know I've brought this up before, but the idea of memorializing a rebel country that barely existed for four years still tickles me to no end.

Anyway, April 26th, the anniversary of general Joseph E. Johnson's surrender, was considered the most appropriate day to commemorate the Confederate dead.  Also, it marks the beginning of really nice weather in Georgia. So, there's that.

Woo! Beach party!
Speaking of the Confederacy. It wasn't very long ago that Georgia's state flag harkened back to a... different time.
I think there was a "heritage not hate" argument somewhere in there.
But in 2001, the state finally retired the old colors in favor of a newer, more politically correct flag.
Currently, we have this:
Seems pretty tame, eh?

Except when you consider that one of the first drafts of the Confederate's colors was this:

Seems familiar...
The National Flag of the Confederacy was flown from 1861-1863.
So yeah, almost the entire damn war.

And now we have another just like it.

I have to imagine that some old hack is sitting up in Atlanta, quietly chuckling to himself about this one...

UPDATE: As of this year, Claxton's Rattlesnake Roundup will no longer be killing snakes. While the rattlers are still the festival's main attraction, they are taking a more educational/wildlife preservation approach. Currently Whigman, Georgia is site to the state's only true rattlesnake roundup.

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