There will be no live opossum at an Appalachian community’s Possum Drop this New Year’s Eve, after concerns by animal-rights groups spurred an agreement between the festival organizer and a state administrative law judge.
The community of Brasstown, population 240, has been lowering a plexiglass box containing a live opossum from a pole at Clay’s Corner Convenience Store at midnight on Dec. 31 for the better part of 20 years. Organizers call the Brasstown Possum Drop a hillbilly homage to the ball drop in Times Square. Animal-rights advocates say it is a cruel act to a shy creature that not only must be left out in the cold mountain air but also can be easily startled by the festival’s fireworks and brass band.
Festival organizer Clay Logan said Monday that the show will go on, even with no live animal at the party in mountainous Clay County, about 100 miles southwest of Asheville. “We’ll probably just lower some other form of possum, a dead possum, road kill maybe, or possum stew,” Mr. Logan said. “It is the Possum Drop after all.”