HORSE CAVE — David Deal had a cautionary word for the audience.
“If I take a step back, it’s for a good reason,” he said Sunday. “I just want to make sure none of you bite my snake.”
The 29-year-old herpetologist at Kentucky Down Under in Hart County was holding a coastal carpet python with a 5-foot strike range. He had already told the audience that the snake couldn’t kill anyone with its bite.
“I’ve not been paid nearly enough to handle a venomous snake,” he said.
Deal’s presentation of “Scales and Tales” was just one activity Sunday during Aussie Fest.
Paula Hazel, 43, of Owensboro, said she once owned a ball python and she thinks snakes are “cool.”
Her son, Josh Hazel, 13, also of Owensboro, said he liked the big python “ ’cause it’s big.”
Deal told the onlookers to respect “the pointed end of the snake,” where the fangs are.
Aussie Fest had people trying to herd sheep, face-painting, an Outback walkabout and many other things Australian.
The sheep won the herding contest.
Actually, the little black-and-white sheepdog had things under control, herding the sheep efficiently to the pen. The children and adults chased the sheep in the big field to no avail once the sheepdog relinquished control.
Besides sheep, there were plenty of different-looking animals to check out.
Merrijo Donnelly, 13, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., said she liked the kangaroos.
“Because they are kangaroos,” she said. “And, I like kangaroos.”
Noah Webb, 8, of Nashville, said he thought the different birds on display were a good attraction.
“The birds were cool. I got to feed them,” Noah said.
Preston Scott and Deborah Martin of Carrollton, Ga., brought their favorite musical instrument with them to demonstrate at Aussie Fest: the long-handled didgeridoo.
Martin, 59, said the key to playing the didgeridoo is “a gentle buzzing of the lips” like one would do in giving a baby a raspberry on his stomach. Scott, 63, and Martin met at an art show in St. Louis 26 years ago the day before Halloween.
They discovered that they like the melodious combination of the flute and the didgeridoo. She plays the flute and he plays the didgeridoo.
“It makes the most beautiful sound,” she said, after finishing a quick number.
Martin even wrote a children’s book about the Australian musical instrument, “The Mystery of the New Blue Didgeridoo,” to “impress my grandchildren.”
Scott, a former music professor, teamed up with Martin, who plays dulcimers and even “the spoons.”
“I wondered why her leg was all purple,” Scott said of his wife’s spoon playing.