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Updated: 11/13/2016 11:00:04AM

CCC Festival draws a crowd

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Chuck Oshaben and Julie Lokken introduced CCC goers to DeSoto National Memorial in Bradenton.


Melissa Bruneau weaves longleaf pine needles and palm-in-florescent flower stalks into baskets she sells for $5 to $30. The money goes to


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SEBRING — Poser is a Florida pine snake, and it’s hard to resist touching her cool, scaly skin.

“I tell kids, you’re too big to be on her menu,” quipped David Sherer, a bird biologist who is interning at Archbold Biological Station.

He and Poser were near the end of the path Saturday at the 31st annual CCC Festival, which featured live music from Scotty and Mandy Kromel of Avon Park, Vickie Conners spinning wool, Mark Hancock of Sebring carving a wolf on wood, Sandy MacDougall of Sebring whittling a sea captain, and David Smith speaking about “FDR, the New York tree farmer and the origins of the CCC.”

Poser is 14 years old, and her bottom half resembles a rattlesnake.

“She’s not poisonous,” Sherer explained. “She eats mice, rats, lizards, other snakes. They smell, and then they follow the scent. They are constrictors. They wrap their body around it, and then they scoop it into their mouth,” Sherer said.

He showed a preserved skeleton. “See the teeth?” Sharp like needles and serrated like a citrus knife.

Up ahead, Julie Lokken showed artifacts from DeSoto National Park. Chuck Oshaben was dressed like Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer who led the first European expedition deep into modern-day Florida, Georgia, Alabama and maybe across the Mississippi River into Arkansas, where he died in 1542.

Oshaben held a native American knife cleverly constructed from shark’s teeth. An Indian who was attacked by a conquistador would have opened a wound that might not have killed, but within a few days could have become fatally infected.

From Sebring, follow S.R. 66 and S.R. 64 to the memorial in Bradenton, called Desoto National Memorial, a park in the explorer’s memory.

Darrel Smith dressed like a CCC boy and told what IT was like in the Highlands Hammock State Park camp during the 1930s.

A car show featured Model Ts, and folks stared at the model railroad and blacksmithing.

Steve Morrison’s booth, Sandy’s MusicGirl, recruited parents and kids to develop skills and self esteem. The Sebring and Lake Wales program provides private lessons, workshops, jam sessions, group campouts and scholarships to music camps.

“It’s named after my late wife,” Morrison said. Another program, Musicland Studios, is for both genders, Morrison said. Girls ages 6 to 19 are accepted, and scholarships are given to girls with financial limitations. More info, 443-4716.

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