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Snakes strike attention in Columbus

It seems like snakes are slithering their way into the headlines this week, doesn't it?

The Columbus Cottonmouths are just one victory away from winning the Southern Professional Hockey League championship series. The team plays the Pensacola Ice Flyers tonight at 8:05 in Florida.

If the Ice Flyers win tonight, a third and deciding game will be at the Columbus Civic Center at 4 p.m. Sunday.

In other snake news, Columbus State University's Oxbow Meadows holds its 11th annual Reptile Fest today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Families can interact with and learn about snakes -- the reptiles, not the hockey players -- and other reptiles at the event. Admission is $5.

Southeastern Reptile Rescue's 30-foot Reptile Wagon will be featured along with local and exotic reptiles, face painting, a tortoise feeding station, a jump house, crafts and games.

Guests who own especially handsome or beautiful reptiles can enter their pets in the Hiss America Pageant at noon. There are just three rules for participants:

Animals must be legal and permitted pets.

No venomous snakes are allowed.

All participants must sign a waiver to bring animals into Reptile Fest.

Here's a lineup of Reptile Fest events:

11:30 a.m. Southeastern Reptile Rescue's Jason Clark introduces the crowd to Athena, a 15 ½ foot Reticulated Python, during his Giant Snakes! program.

Noon to 1 p.m. Meet the contestants in the Hiss America Pageant. Each contestant will have a station where he or she can stand with his/her pet and talk with and meet other festival guests. Contestants are encouraged to bring props and costumes. Guests may cast a vote for their favorite reptile.

1 p.m. Clark presents some of his native-to-Georgia reptiles during the Southeastern Snake Encounter program. Hiss America will be crowned at the end of the program.

2:30 p.m. Watch the feeding of Oxbow's four adult alligators -- Seminole, Ann, Marie and Satilla.

Get more information at oxbow.columbusstate.edu or by calling 706-507-8550.

Not a fan of snakes? What about lions? See the Columbus Lions play indoor football against the Louisiana Swashbucklers at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Columbus Civic Center.

It's Cancer Awareness Night and the Lions will wear pink jerseys and play with pink footballs, which will be auctioned off after the game. A portion of the money raised will be donated to the John B. Amos Cancer Center and the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta.

Lions tickets cost $13-$50. For information, call 706-322-3336 or visit columbuslions.net.

Dawn Minty, features editor, can be reached at dminty@ledger-enquirer.com.

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