Updated:TALLAPOOSA, Ga. - Times Square in New York has the Waterford Crystal New Year's Eve Ball. Underground Atlanta plays host to the Peach Drop. Tallapoosa has a similar New Year's Eve tradition. Residents celebrated the arrival of 2010 with the Possum Drop.
Tallapoosa is about an hour west of Atlanta just off I-20 near the Alabama state line.
"It kind of started out as a joke," organizer Kate Gardner told wsbtv.com. "But now it's grown to one of the biggest events we have."
The Possum Drop is precisely what the name implies. At the stroke of midnight, the town lowers a possum inside a ball covered in Christmas lights to the ground.
Georgia City Celebrates New Years With Possum Drop
"He is not a live possum," Gardner said. "We have a local taxidermist. His name is Bud Jones. He stuffed him several years ago. His name is Spencer. We borrow Spencer from Bud."
Spencer died of natural causes several years ago. When Spencer isn't sliding down the rope for New Years, he can be found at Bud's Taxidermy and Wildlife Museum in Tallapoosa.
So why a possum?
"Everywhere in Tallapoosa, you see them driving, running across the road," attendee Stephen Cobb told wsbtv.com. Good reason, but not the real reason Cobb said. It actually has to do with the city's history. The town was named Possum Snout before it was incorporated in the 1800's. That's where the idea behind the Possum Drop originated.
"It's weird, but awesome too," Cobb said. "People that live around here understand, but everyone should see it one time in (their) life."
One time in your life; that's what most people say about the celebration at Times Square too.