The San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival added a new segment to its rattle as more than 10,000 people attended the 51st San Antonio Rattlesnake Festi-val Oct 21 and 22 demonstrating that the festival is very much alive.
The 2017 festival was the first for the new organizers, The Thomas Prom-ise Foundation of Zephyrhills, who took on the event after the former or-ganizers, the San Antonio Rotary Club, announced they would discontinue the festival after 50 years. The Thomas Promise Foundation provides weekend meals to students in Pasco County schools who might otherwise go hungry.
“It was a lot of work, but it was fun,” said Dianna Thomas, executive direc-tor of the Thomas Promise Foundation. “We learned a lot and now we are in the process of looking at what worked, what didn’t, and what we could do better to prepare for next year. We’re thrilled that we were able to keep this tradition going. So many of us remembering attending it when we were kids – whoever thought we’d be running it someday.”
October 25, 2017
When they were kids, one of the people running it was Eddie Herrmann, a founder of the festival. Herrmann had been in poor health and received the news that the festival would end with sadness accepting that all things must come to an end, said his son Eric Herrmann, but, Eric continued, he was thrilled to hear later that the festival would continue. Herrmann had been admit-ted to hospice a few days before the festival began and passed away just a few hours after the festival had closed its first day, he passed away reportedly hap-py that his legacy was in good hands.
“Thomas Promise Foundation is proud to take up the legacy left by Eddie Herrmann,” Thomas said. “The Rattlesnake Festival was always to benefit chil-dren and Eddie’s heart for children will continue to beat as we operate the festi-val as a fundraiser to feed hungry students. It is so appropriate, and I think a gift, that he passed while people enjoyed the festival that was dear to him – es-pecially the Gopher Races, which were his invention. We raised enough to provide more than 60,000 meals this year so every one of those students can say “Thanks Eddie.”
The Thomas Promise Foundation also organized the Rattlesnake Run held in the morning before the opening of the festival. More than 220 runners regis-tered to run the one-mile and five-mile races. Javier Beuzeville of Tampa was the overall winner and overall male of the five-miler at 30:26:57. Katlyn Eble of Dade City was the overall female winner coming in at 33:24:39. In the one-miler open, Paul Coates of Zephyrhills was the overall winner and overall male win-ner at 8:36 and Samantha Pourcel of Dade City was first across the line among females at 10:37.
Now that the festival is over the Thomas Promise Foundation will shed those parts that need revamping and coil to strike again next year on the third Satur-day in October. For information stay in touch with rattlesnakefestival.com and on the San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival page on Facebook.