New Year's Eve: Opossum Drop?Published December 28, 2011
Flickr User paparutzi
Ringing in the New Year in Brasstown, North Carolina could be considered just a tad unusual and quite a bit different than the way folks in the Big Apple (as well as other large cities around the world) celebrate. Brasstown residents Judy and Clay Logan are the organizers of an annual event dubbed the "Opossum Drop", a rather bizarre (and seemingly hillbilly) tradition annually held in the town on New Year's Eve.
The New Year's Eve ritual is the Brasstown "take-off" version of dropping the ball in Times Square at midnight. Two hours before midnight, an opossum that Clay Logan captures is raised up a tree in a Plexiglas box to a height of 14 feet. In reality, this is not an opossum drop at all; at midnight, the animal is lowered gently to the ground and following the event is released.
Despite being lowered gently to the ground, USA Today reported that PETA is not in the least happy about the centerpiece of the Brasstown celebration, and wants it stopped.
This isn't the first time that Logan has received attention for his New Year's Eve ritual. In 2004, Logan received international attention following a New York Times article featuring the event. Additionally, Logan has already had a previous run-in with PETA; in 2005, the group threatened to sue Logan for not having the proper permits to keep wild animals. (That year, to keep the tradition going, Logan used an opossum that fell victim to some car along the road rather than a live animal.)
While Logan says he has all the necessary permits, PETA still disagrees, saying that he does not have the proper North Carolina permits to keep wild animals captive. Thus, in addition to viewing the event as inhumane, they also deem it illegal. A spokesperson from PETA said that the opossum “suffers through a barrage of terrifying stimuli”, referring to fireworks and gunfire. PETA also doesn’t believe the “drop” height is 14 feet, claiming it is closer to 40 feet. PETA says they have written to Logan asking him to find an alternative to using a live opossum for their celebration. For instance, Tallapoosa, Georgia, which also holds an opossum “drop”, uses a taxidermed opossum.
Despite PETA's allegations, Logan claims that the evening is nothing more than a lot of family fun with no drinking allowed (and, of course, no opossums harmed).
And, apparently, the event is fairly popular; if the weather is good, the event brings out a crowd that can number 3,000, all of whom seem to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Where do you stand on the "Opossum Drop" debate? Share with a comment.