Way to defy stereotypes, North Carolina!
A tiny Southern community called Brasstown will continue its tradition of ringing in New Year's Eve with a "Possum Drop," but for the first time in 20 years, they won't be using a live animal!
Per the Wall Street Journal, organizers at the Brasstown Possum Drop will still count down to midnight by lowering a plexiglass box from a pole at Clay's Corner Convenience Store. After a three-year court battle with PETA, though, the tradition and opossum theme is getting toned down a few notches.
"We'll probably just lower some other form of opossum, a dead possum, road kill maybe, or possum stew," festival organizer Clay Logan told the WSJ. "It is the Possum Drop after all."
Last year, festival organizers compromised somewhat by having a live possum on the ground and its likeness suspended in the air. This didn't satisfy protestors, though, who argued that the brass band music and fireworks historically accompanying the countdown at the event still cause unnecessary distress to the live animal.
In 2013, the state passed a new law, the Opossum Right to Work Act, but earlier this year, the Clay County Opossum Exclusion passed, granting an exception allowing for Clay's Corner Convenience Store to drop the animal between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 of each year.
Per the WSJ, PETA feared this exception would create "a zone of lawlessness" allowing those in Clay County to treat any opossum in any manner they chose with no recourse. So, PETA is still challenging this exception granted to Clay County, but a North Carolina senior administrative law judge said there was no need to grant the request this year because Mr. Logan promised the judge in writing not to use a live possum.
PETA said Monday it would be OK with the use of a previously killed opossum—something North Carolinians should have no trouble acquiring from any roadside.