RALEIGH -- New Years Eve apparently include a possum drop again this year in the North Carolina mountain community of Brasstown.
The state Senate voted 41-2 Thursday in favor of a bill that would give a state agency the right to issue a permit to organizers of the annual Brasstown Possum Drop.
The event, in an unincorporated community in Clay County, began nearly 20 years ago. Organizer Clay Logan said he wanted some sort of fun way to bring in the new year. Rather than raise a ball, as in New York City, he and other event sponsors put an opossum in a large, glass-walled box, and slowly lowered it to the ground.
The animal is then released, Logan says.
But the event was blocked two months ago by PETA, which claimed it amounted to animal abuse. PETA successfully got a court order stopping the event, saying the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources did not have the authority to grant a permit allowing someone to temporarily hold a wild animal.
State lawmakers introduced a bill in January that would allow the permits to be issued, and the bill passed the House on Feb. 13 by a 98-20 vote.
Gov. Pat McCrory said he planned to sign the bill into law Friday.
PETA’s David Perle made an effort Thursday to convince state senators to vote the bill down. “It’s time for the joke to end and the bill to be dropped -- not the possum.”
But state Sen. Jim Macon (R-Macon) said, “It’s a good, wholesome event.”
The Possum Drop has evolved into an evening festival, complete with live musical entertainment and food.