Your life will remain incomplete until you go to a possum drop on New Year’s Eve. Really.

You may have seen the Peach Drop in Atlanta, or struggled through the pickpockets to see the big Waterford crystal ball drop in Times Square. (The Waterford ball seems like a decadent waste of Waterford when there are so many people around the world who have no Waterford at all.)

But it is a singular life-changing moment to count down to midnight while a live possum in a Plexiglas cage is lowered to the ground in front of 2,000+ people gathered at a Citgo gas station in Brasstown, North Carolina. Our good friends and neighbors, Judy and Grover Hardin, took us to the event, and for that act of kindness The Goddess and I will be forever grateful.

For you animal lovers, let me point out that the possum in Brasstown is very much alive, is treated with respect, and lowered carefully. He is then released back into the wild where he will suffer the possum equivalent of humiliation for telling an outlandish and clearly made-up story about his New Year’s Eve in Brasstown.

Want your possum closer to Atlanta? Tallapoosa obliges with its own take on the Possum Drop.

Lost your taste for possum? Thinking maybe a giant marshmallow Peep or a stuffed goat would give you the right New Year’s Eve fix?

In Marion, Ohio, New Year’s Eve is celebrated by the dropping of a giant popcorn corn ball.

In Vincennes, Indiana, the self-proclaimed Watermelon Capital Of The World, 10 watermelons will be dropped from 100 feet to celebrate the arrival of 2010. (Ten watermelons, 2010. Get it?)

The City of Flagstaff, Arizona, celebrates by lowering a giant pine cone.

(I trust you are writing all this down.)

The state of Pennsylvania has clearly gone for the gold in the “Why-Don’t-We-Drop-Something-Really-Strange-On-New-Year’s-Eve?” competition. The objects include, but are not by any means limited to, a purple-and-gold shoe, a beaver, a giant marshmallow Peep, a cow made of wood, an Indy car, a pretzel, a sled, a frog, a stuffed goat, a Hemlock tree, a 100-pound stick of Lebanon bologna, a bottle of beer, a wooden cigar held by a lion, a broasted chicken, a steamroller, and ping pong balls.

Memphis, Tennessee, has a giant Gibson guitar drop.

In Gainesville, Georgia, a new event is taking its place alongside the goat and the 10 watermelons. Celebrating its largest industry, the city will drop a giant chicken at midnight.

Key West is well known for its lowering of a large red shoe with a drag queen inside.

In Elmore, Ohio, a giant sausage is lowered at the stroke of midnight.

In Pensacola, it’s a giant pelican.

A hog falls in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a big cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

I just heard someone on the back row ask about fish.

In Port Clinton, Ohio, you can count down to the New Year as they lower a Walleye Pike.

Not to be outdone, in Prairie de Chien, Wisconsin, the New Year is welcomed with the lowering of a carp.

And in Mobile, a symbol of Southern grace and charm, they will lower a $9,000 electronic Moon Pie.

All these celebrations remind me of a menu with 200 varieties of deep fried cheese sticks: how does one choose?.

Where will I celebrate this year? It’s hard to say, but I gotta tell you it’s hard to pass up the chance to see a $9,000 electronic Moon Pie.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.