On the side of State Highway 77 in Wausau stands what may well be Florida's most unique roadside memorial - the Possum Monument.
Unveiled in August of 1982, the unusual monument pays tribute to the lowly possum (or Opossum, as Northerners seem to prefer). The inscription on the monument says it all:
Erected in grateful recognition of the role the North American possum, a magnificient survivor of the marsupial family pre-dating the ages of the mastodon and the dinosaur has played in furnishing both food and fur for the early settlers and their successors. Their presence here has provided a source of nutritious and flavorful food in normal times and has been important aid to human survival in times of distress and critical need.
In addition, as the monument inscription notes, you might not be able to get Democrats and Republicans together on much in Florida, but on one thing they agree:
The 1982 session of the Florida Legislature further recognized the possum by passing a joint resolution proclaiming the first Saturday in August as Possum Day in the Great State of Florida.
Wausau, as you probably have guessed by now, is the self-proclaimed "Possum Capital of the World." In addition to the monument, the community is home to the "Possum Palace," a nice entertainment venue and the home of the annual Fun Day and Possum Festival.
The celebration is held on the first Saturday of August each year. That is the day officially designated by the Florida Legislature at Possum Day in Florida.
The Possum Festival features a Possum Queen and Possum King contest, Possum Auction and a wide variety of other activities.Crowds numbering into the thousands attend the event each year.