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Western NC Town Ends NYE Opossum Drop Tradition

Andrews, N.C., will end it's annual New Year's Eve tradition of lowering a live opossum in a plexiglass box.

The Western North Carolina town of Andrews will end its annual New Year's Eve tradition of lowering a live opossum, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The lowering of an opossum in a plexiglass box -- a response to the Times Square ball drop -- has been practiced in the town since the early 1990s.

"It's done," James Reid, mayor of the 1,800-person town, told WSJ. "They can stick a fork in it."

Although opponents of the tradition have won several court victories against it, Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature passed multiple laws attempting to preseve it -- including a 2015 law exempting Virginia opossums from wildlife protections between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2, according to The Hill.

"Times are changing," Reid told The Hill. "Our plan is to have an awesome party and not have any live animals involved whatsoever."

Last year, the opossum used in the drop developed an infection where it had been caught in a trap. Millie had her leg amputated but survived, and now lives in Prosperity, South Carolina's Opossum's Pouch Sanctuary.

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.