Possum Festival: 42 Years and Counting

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Wausau, FL - The town of Wausau is buzzing, or should we say hissing, with excitement. This weekend marks the 42nd annual Possum Festival.

"We're very lucky to have a festival of this nature," said first-time vendor Patty Boop.

"What got you into it this year," asked News Channel 7's Bryan Anderson.

"We are going on a mission trip to Israel, and this is what I'm doing is trying to make money for that trip," said Boop.

This event all started 42 years ago by a local resident. There's even a monument dedicated to the creature near city hall. But the history of this marsupial in Wausau dates back much further. Residents survived the Great Depression by eating possum when they couldn't find anything else.

"They did what they could catch. I'm sure they had other wildlife they would eat and everything, but that seemed to be the most prevalent thing they could get," said Boop.

Some of Saturday's events include a pancake breakfast, a possum parade and auction, then to top it all off, a hog-calling contest.

"What is a hog-calling voice," asked News Channel 7's Bryan Anderson.

"A shrill I would think," said Boop.

"Do you know how to call hogs," asked News Channel 7's Bryan Anderson.

"No I don't," said Boop.

This certainly is a festival unlike any other.

"Where else are you going to get a chance to experience the tasting of possum food, or see possum races, or have a possum parade, and see the Possum Palace? It's up here at Wausau," said vendor Bobbie Shepherd.

Wausau residents still eat possum. They said you can make a stew out of it, even ice cream. The festival costs the town between five and seven thousand dollars.

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