Possum Drop location finalized
Andrews – With all the rain seen and predicted this month, the 25th annual Possum Drop is moving again to Andrews Recreation Park, slightly outside the billed Heritage Park.
“Without a doubt, this is our best venue,” Mayor James Reid said from the existing cinderblock and wood stage beside the pool as the Possum Drop Committee toured the new location on Dec. 12.
Spectators will still be on a grass field, but the field at the recreation park is much more solid than the field at Heritage Park. As the group looked out on the field bordered by the pool and softball field, they estimated 3,000 people could fit in the space.
“I love this place. This is it,” said Clay Logan, who held the event at his business on Old Highway 64 in Brasstown for 24 years before retiring last year. “This will be great. This will be great.”
The festivities start at 8 p.m. with live entertainment, including Steve Phillips and the Midnight Express as well as the High Country Harmonizers.
At 10 p.m., the possum will be escorted to the stage by the Andrews High School Marching Band. The event will continue with Logan hosting the traditional Possum Drop entertainment, including the Miss Possum Contest, a tribute to Americans serving in the military and surprise performances. The evening will conclude with the possum lowered in a Plexiglas cage to mark the new year and fireworks finale.
Just in case rainfall is too much for the grass field, there is a plan B. In that scenario, a stage will be built at the front of the pool, facing the parking lot where spectators will gather. Reid said this option would feel more like the former home of the event.
Reid asked the committee for the minor change in location because he was concerned that the field at Heritage Park would be too muddy on New Year’s Eve. He didn’t want people to leave the night disappointed in the venue’s condition.
While the Town of Andrews plans to make the event its own, it still has Logan’s influence and guidance behind it. It will feature the fun traditions of live music, the Miss Possum contest and, of course, the possum carefully lowered in a cage to mark the new year.
“I want it to be his Possum Drop brought to Andrews,” Reid said. “We’re going to have a ball with and just do the best we can.”
After Logan announced it was the last Possum Drop at Clay’s Corner during last year’s event, many people, including Logan, wanted to see the event continue somewhere else. Reid said he’s been asked how Andrews got the Possum Drop, and all he had to do was ask.
“I think it will be a tremendous event for Andrews,” Logan said.
The committee has $10,725 promised in funds from various businesses and organizations, with $7,025 already submitted. Reid added that the Cherokee County Tourism Development Authority gave $2,000, Erlanger Murphy Medical Center gave $1,500, Harrah’s Cherokee Valley
River Casino & Hotel gave $1,500 and McGill Associates gave $2,000 to help sponsor the event.
Committee member Tom Page said it’s still unknown how much money is needed to make the event a success, as there are other costs to consider.
Reid, who said he is an animal lover, is open-minded about the concerns of activists who have reached out to him. However, he has not been contacted directly by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – yet, anyway.
“If I felt like this possum was under stress at all, I would speak up,” Reid said.
After the possum for the event is caught, a veterinarian will examine it. They will take care of the animal up to the end of the night, when it will go home with a wildlife expert.
“It’s the best-cared-for possum,” Town Administrator Bill Green said.