Home Breaking News Possum Queens set to retire while Parade marches on this Saturday

Possum Queens set to retire while Parade marches on this Saturday

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MOUNT IDA – Changes are coming to the annual Possum Parade and Picnic this year with organizers bringing the “Possum Queen” title to an end.
According to a statement released by Jerry Babbett, spokesman for the Front Porch Stage, that after much deliberation they will bring the long time feature of the event to a close.
“What do you do when a local tradition run out of steam? That’s where we are with our “Possum Queen Race”.” Babbett asked in his statement.
He explained that the Possum Queen race started as a practical joke when volunteers decided to honor one of their wives with the honor of “Possum Queen.” Before they knew it women were asking why they weren’t chosen.
Members of Possum Unlimited, the organization behind The Front Porch Stage, saw an opportunity to raise money for the weekly entertainment event. Each year following the first event women could run for the title of Possum Queen with voting being cast at a penny a vote.
“For several years it was true at a penny a vote it was “the best election that money could buy”.” Babbett joked about the contest.
Babbett stated that the event was a huge success early on, but in recent years enthusiasm has waned to the point that they have had to appoint a queen without an election.
Babbett stated that “with some nostalgic sadness we are ending the two decade old tradition known to us as “The Possum Queen Race”.”
He added that they owe those early queens a debt of gratitude for their grace and good humor.
“Being a Possum Queen is a distinct honor and we will always have a special appreciation for those ladies who chose or were chosen to serve. They are a very special group of women who, despite any possum jokes, gave us their time and energies in support of the Front Porch. We will always honor them.”
There were also seven Possum Princesses. After a Possum Queen serves her term she is known as a “has been.”
Has Beens will be honored one final time at this year’s Possum Parade and Picnic as they ride in the parade.
Possum Queens include:
1996 Roseanne Adams. 1997 Madene Hughbanks, 1998 Toogie Swindle, 1999 Wanda Clenney,
2000 Patti Lashley, 2001 Nolene Bobo, 2002 Betty Williams, 2003 Mary Offitt, 2004 Lynn Howard,
2005 JoAnn Cozby , 2006 Sue West, 2007 Winifred Eggleston, 2008 Barbara Black, 2009 Anita Watson,
2010 Jane Babbitt, 2011 Jerline Qualls, 2012 Donna Jones, 2013 Deborah Adams, 2014 Brenda Minton,
2015 Donna Wilburn and 2016 Barbara Broersma-Sprague.
The Possum Parade and Picnic will be held Friday, September 23, and Saturday, September 24 at the Courthouse Square in Mount Ida.
Brown bag lunches will be available Friday beginning at 10:30 a.m. John Talley and Mike Adams will provide entertainment beginning at 11 a.m.
Saturday’s festivities will begin at 6 p.m. with the Possum Parade and Possum Queen Procession.
The Salty Dogs will be the featured act and will take the stage at 7 p.m.
For more information about the Front Porch Stage, or the Possum Parade and Picnic check out their Facebook page, or visit them online at frontporchstage.org.