Forget the New Year’s ball drop in Times Square. Brasstown, North Carolina celebrates with their annual Possum Drop. A plexiglass box containing a live possum is lowered when the clock strikes twelve and then there is much rejoicing. Or at least there was before PETA came to town.

Participating possums were released back to the wild after their fifteen minutes of fame. Yet PETA claimed the annual Possum Drop would create a “zone of lawlessness” wherein anything could happen to the possum of the hour.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

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.”

Nothing says “Happy New Year!” quite like road kill.

The state even passed a few laws in an attempt ensure the longevity of the Possum Drop, 2013’s “Opossum Right to Work Act” and this year’s “Clay County Opossum Exclusion”, the WSJ reported. Yet, that was not enough to trump PETA’s anti-New Years agenda.

According to My Fox 8, “A recent ruling by the Wildlife Resources Commission requires Logan to have a permit to drop a live possum.” Sadly, as Logan explained to a local news outlet, he simply doesn’t have time to request the requisite permit.

PETA is fine with a stuffed possum though, just not the real thing.

Could this be one giant attempt to prevent the Possum Drop from upstaging New York’s festivities? All signs point to “in Obama’s America, anything is possible.” Earlier this year, PETA named groundhog killer New York Mayor Bill de Blasio their “Person of the Year.” Why the sudden fondness for New York? Really makes you wonder.

If only PETA was as concerned about groundhogs as they are possums, Charlotte the groundhog (who was actually a stand-in for Chuck) might still be with us today, running around, doing little groundhoggy things. R.I.P. Charlotte, R.I.P.

In the meantime, happy possumless New Year. If such a thing is even possible.

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