Nothing rings in the New Year like dropping roadkill from a pole.
At least that's what the slogans on Brasstown, N.C.'s 'possum drop' T-shirts might have to say now that a judge has ruled the town can no longer lower a live opossum at midnight on Dec. 31.
Thousands of people come to watch Brasstown's version of the New Year's ball drop featuring an opossum in a clear box, but this year the star won't be a live animal, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, commonly known as PETA, sued the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, saying it was cruel and illegal to lift a terrified animal over a crowd and expose it to bright lights and fireworks.
PETA won the court case because the commission had issued an illegal permit for the event to the organizer, Clay Logan. In fact, it invented its own permit that gave Logan permission to keep a wild opossum in captivity temporarily and then release it, according to the Citizen-Times.
The made-up permit didn't stick but the made-up tradition will carry on.
"It ain't going to deter us from having the event," Logan told the newspaper.
Logan said he might use a stuffed opossum or roadkill for the big drop event hosted at his store, Clay's Corner.
The store's website lists canned opossum among the T-shirts and coffee mugs patrons can order online.
"And remember," the website says, "The opossum is edible and considered a delicacy in the south!"
Looks like it's also considered the equivalent of a 12,000-pound ball made from Waterford crystals, like the one dropped each New Year's Eve in Times Square.
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