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Wausau Celebrated 51st Annual Wausau Possum Parade on Saturday

Paul Golding
guest writer
Washington County News

WAUSAU- Wausau celebrated an abbreviated 51st Annual Wausau Possum Festival on Saturday, August 1, 2020, with a parade at 10AM in historic downtown Wausau, followed by the annual Possum Auction and Quilt Auction, in front of Wausau Town Hall.

Big winners at the event were Washington County Supervisor of Elections candidate Corey Odom, who was high bidder on one of the quilts auctioned by the Wausau Quilting Club, proceeds from which are used for community projects, and State Attorney candidate Wes Hatcher, who purchased not one but two possums during the Possum Auction, proceeds from which the Wausau Development Club awards scholarships to local students.

‘This is great’, said Hatcher between smiles, watching his children enjoy the proceedings, ‘this is heartland America, and we love this opportunity to meet and speak to our citizens’.

The Wausau Development Club crowned the club’s first Virtual Possum King and Possum Queen at 8:30AM, just before the kickoff of the parade, with locals ‘Joe Possum’ and ‘Juna Tuna’ each taking first prizes of $500 respectively, and with Washington County Superintendent of Schools candidates Joe Taylor and Martha Compton providing the cash prizes.

Wausau Recreation Department Steve Hallmark was also high bidder with a winning bid of over $1,000 on one of the Wausau Quilts, while politicians kissed hands and shook babies over the course of the morning.

Despite the efforts of some who petitioned to prevent the event, common sense and intelligence beat out feelings and emotional outbursts, and a fair-sized crowd attended while observing CDC guidelines, social-distancing and the personal decision to wear masks.

‘I did not participate in the parade, because I did not want to encourage my supporters to jeopardize their health or safety if they did not feel comfortable’, said Washing County Supervisor of Elections frontrunner candidate Corey Odom, ‘but I would not have missed this heritage event for the world’.

Washington County Commissioner District 5 Steve Joyner enjoyed waving to supporters during the short but impactful parade. ‘This is our home, this is our heritage, this is what we love and the reason we live here’, said Joyner.

There was no lack of political candidates, people-watching or fun for the duration of the event, and the parade was augmented by fire department vehicles and personnel as well as regional Shriners, who delighted the crown with their wheeled antics.

Developed in 1970 by Dalton Carter, whose image graced the cover of this year’s collectible souvenir ‘Possum Program’, the Wausau Fun Day and Possum Festival has long been the prime fundraiser for the Wausau Volunteer Fire Department, the Development Club and the Quilters Club in Wausau.

Originally designed to celebrate the lowly opossum, or 'Possum', the festival gave local residents an opportunity to have a festival during the Dog Days of Summer, and the event occurs each year on the first Saturday in August.