A North Carolina community’s tradition of dropping a live opossum on New Year’s Eve — a self-described “redneck response” to the Times Square ball drop — has reached its end this New Year’s.
Started in 1990 by a man named Clay Logan in Brasstown, N.C. to give his town something fun to do at the end of the year, the tradition was moved to the nearby Andrews, N.C., last year when Logan decided he could no longer run things. But after the new town took over, only one opossum was dropped before the mayor put the brakes on annually lowering a marsupial in a plexiglass box.
James Reid told the Wall Street Journal that he was sick of the outrage around the event, and also noted that last year the opossum developed an infection where it got caught in a trap.
“In hindsight, maybe I made a mistake,” Reid said of the previous Possum Drop. “Times are changing. Our plan is to have an awesome party and not have any live animals involved whatsoever.”
Unsurprisingly, the Possum Drop attracted plenty of opponents throughout its existence, most notably the animal rights group PETA, which has filed multiple lawsuits against the event. They’ve claimed that the bright lights, relatively big crowds, and loud fireworks are all distressing to the opossum, which is nocturnal.