He is furry, fashionable, and about to fly once again into the New Year.
“At midnight, lots of people drop a ball but that's kind of old hat,” said Carrie Samis, main street manager in Princess Anne, Maryland. The Eastern Shore town near Salisbury, population 4,000, deemed other traditions so mundane that it went for a mammal to ring in the New Year.
Dressed in a top hat and cape, Marshall P. Muskrat is zip-lined above delighted townspeople at the stroke of midnight.
“He definitely loves the attention,” said Samis of the event, known simply as the “Midnight Muskrat Dive.”
How this tradition started is, well, fuzzy. Muskrats have made merry in marshy Maryland for millennia. But six years ago, a stuffed specimen was selected as the crescendo to the town's annual celebration.
The event is free, but the opportunity to see Maryland's must-see muskrat is priceless, said Samis.
“People cannot wait to get their pictures taken of him and to get video of him as he slides down Somerset Avenue,” said Samis. “It's pretty spectacular.”