24th Annual Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2014 @ The Litchfield Inn
Zeller group wins 2014 Possum Queen Contest
Gary Zeller, second from right, and representatives of his team bask in the glow of winning the
Possum Queen Contest on New Year's Day. With Zeller are, from left, John Caron, Val Caron and
Matt Sweet. Below, Godpossum Micky Pratt allows contest judge Billy Neller to kiss her ring. BZ photos
A crazy, wild and wacky New Year's Day at the Litchfield Inn ended with
Gary Zeller and his team winning the 24th annual Possum Queen Contest.
Zeller's team was accompanied by the Mattatuck Drum Band and put on
a show that judges Brent Hawkins and Billy Neller declared the best.
For winning, the Zeller team earned the right to play dead in 2014.
For years, Zeller and his gang of Evelyn Crandall, Rick Pratt, Matt Sweet and Jim Ferrucci have
been entertaining crowds as the contest. So have Team Goshen and the Murphy-Budny team.
All three performed yet again and had the standing-room only crowd roaring.
Team Goshen, the 2013 winner, did a skit based on the movie "The Godfather,"
with Micky Pratt playing Vito Corleone, or in this case Vito Possumleone.
The Possumleone "family" tried to bribe, intimidate and threaten its way
to another title but couldn't sway the judges.
Pratt was brilliant in her role, giving perhaps her best performance in the contest.
Team Goshen was the runner up choice. The Budny-Murphy team
earned third place for their retired superheroes skit.
The contest included live and silent auctions and raised thousands of dollars for the
Possum Queen Foundation, which assists local residents facing high medical costs.
The teams raised some money and Hawkins and Neller received cash donations in the form of bribes.
The live auction saw four tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees game in Fenway Park go for $2,600.
An autographed James Taylor guitar went for $2,250 and
an autographed Charlie Daniels fiddle sold for $2,150.
The highlight of the afternoon came when Steve Sage and a group of donors
bid $7,000 for a can of possum soup. Sage and his group win the can every year
and return it to the judges so they can bid for it the next year.
Dignitaries spotted in the crowd included 1991 Possum Queen Rory O'Shaughnessy, Denny Brown,
who put on a show at the 1992 contest, and Litchfield Hills Probate District Judge Diane Blick.
Rey Budny gets a feel for things during his team's performance.
Steve Sage prepares to receive the can of possum soup
his consortium bid $7,000 for in the live auction.
Micky Pratt auctions off the can of possum soup.
Performers gather for a photo at the end of the contest.
Bruce Losee participates in the live auction.
From left, Val Caron, D.J. Murphy and Matt Sweet.
Micky Pratt seeks donations after the show.
Val Caron meets the Godpossum.
Val Caron and Gary Zeller.
Judges Billy Neller, left, and Brent Hawkins.
Judge Brent Hawkins got smooched by the Godpossum girls.
Godpossum Micky Pratt tries to bribe the judges.
Brent Hawkins ponders the Godpossum bribe offer.
The judges were summoned to the table by the Godpossum.
Godpossum goddaughter Susan Wheeler speaks to the crowd.
Mat Wheeler speaks on behalf of the Godpossum.
The Godpossum ladies were decked out for the show.
Judge Charlie Gill, his wife. Joan, and Anne C. Dranginis watch the show.
Former Possum Queen Rory O'Shaughnessy was in attendance.
Evelyn Crandall played Betsy Ross for the Zeller team.
Rich Pratt was part of the Zeller team.
Jim Ferrucci, who played Ben Franklin for the Zeller team, admires Steve Sage's suit.
Leslie Budny and Darrin Murphy in their superheroes show.
Rey Budny performs in his team's skit.
The Godpossum bids his goddaughters farewell.
Billy Neller presents Jenny Matthews with the Thunder le Boom Award.
photos courtesy of Leslie Caron below
The 24th annual Possum Queen Contest is coming back to the Litchfield Inn this Possum Day, January 1st.
This tongue-in-cheek beauty pageant (Where beauty and talent have nothing to do with it,
it's all about bribing the judges!) has been a tremendous success for some unknown reason.
Maybe it's because we put the FUN in FUNdraising? There is no other event of its kind anywhere in the world,
so you will not want to miss it! The doors of the Litchfield Inn open at 12 Noon and the fun begins immediately on Possum Day.
Please be prepared to bribe early and often! And yes we do take credit cards, checks and even cash!!!
Will there be entertainment? Good question! It all depends on what your view of entertainment is,
but there will be several people/groups vying for the coveted Possum Queen Crown this year as the
talent competition is already filling up!!! The acts promises to be somewhere between:
"What the heck was that?" to "That was hysterical!"
Who will wear the Possum Queen Sash and receive the bouquet of dead roses and claim
the right to play dead for an entire year in 2014? Just wait and see!
The Possum Queen Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization and we are very proud of the fact that in our
24-year history we have been able to devote almost 100% of all proceeds to the intended recipients. Now that
we are officially a non-profit (501c3) organization, we pay the fees and insurance necessary to keep us legal,
and ALL of the rest of the money goes to the recipients, (which is about 97%). There is so much to operating
a charity we are constantly trying to get the number up from 97% so that we can give away as much
as possible year over year. Everyone associated with this charity is a volunteer and our Board of Directors
is thankful to have such a dedicated and caring group who just want to make
things better for families who have a bump in their road.
The Possum Queen Live and Silent Auctions have been a big hit for years!
Here's a few of some interesting auction items at Possum this year:
A short silver fox ladies coat! (It's gorgeous!);
A mink stole!!! (No explanation necessary!!!);
Yankees tickets (4) at Yankee stadium;
A complete set of 1964 (50 years old by Possum Day) giant-sized baseball cards.
They only made these cards in 1964 and in 1971 so they are rare and there are several
Hall of Famers in the pack including: Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson and Roberto Clemente.
Four (4) Green Monster Seats as the Red Sox host the Yankees on Saturday, July 5th;
an acoustic guitar autographed by James Taylor,
an electric guitar signed by Willie Nelson,
and an electric guitar signed by Vinnie Martell of Vanilla Fudge fame.
There is one more string instrument up for bids;
a beautiful, white violin autographed by the man himself, the great Charlie Daniels!
We've also got tickets to a Broadway Play up for grabs at the auctions…..
Doors open at 12 noon for Possum at the Litchfield Inn....on Possum Day, January 1st.
Many more auction items will be available, but you will just have to come and see for yourself.
Much needed food and drink for sustaining your energy for Possum Day is available at the Litchfield Inn as well!!!
As mentioned, we are a 501c3 charitable foundation! Donations are tax deductible!
Please plan to get to the Possum Queen Contest early; parking is at a premium for this event!
Oh, and if you want to wear your most garish outfit, it would probably be a good idea!
For over 24 years we have been playing possum in Litchfield. Many of you may not know what we have been doing,
what we are about or even that we exist. We have a Possum Queen Contest every year right here in Litchfield, CT.
on January 1 "New Year's Day" and have grown this event year over year. The unfortunate piece of this,
as we have grown so have our incoming requests. Our mission is clear "to support families and individuals that incur
severe extended medical hardships." Our one main event can make a difference, but we need your help to be able
to build our foundation for the full year stretch. We need your kindness
and support so that we can continue our mission in 2014 and beyond.
Just think 24 years ago The Possum Queen Festival started with two guys sitting in a bar on New Year's Day
and the first year event had anywhere from 3 to 7 people. That one event has now grown past 600 generous and
caring folks and we don't want to stop there. Through everyone's generosity over the years you have turned,
what was a small glimmer of thought and hope, into a tremendous charitable foundation! We now operate year-round
and continue to grow and help individuals and families throughout the year. The Founders of The Possum Queen Foundation
started out raising just over $400 at the first Possum Queen Festival and over the years we
have totaled well over $230,000 in donations that have been distributed to our deserving recipients.
PQ Media Contact: Brent Hawkins (860) 309-9545
23rd Annual Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2013
Due to copyright issues with music used in the skits,
the videos are no longer available on Litchfield.bz's YouTube. ~ Sorry!
Possum Queen Contest rocks the Litchfield Inn
Evelyn Meyer escorts Mike Bolton, who played Andrea Bocelli, into the Possum Queen Contest.
Below, Matt Wheeler was Elvis Presley. BZ photos
New Year's Day was again a festive one in Litchfield thanks
to the annual Possum Queen Contest, a big-time fundraiser and afternoon of
dramatic creativity benefiting the non-profit Possum Queen Foundation.
Proceeds from the contest at the Litchfield Inn are still being tallied,
but estimates show more than $30,000 coming in.
All of it will be distributed to local families facing financial crises due to medical problems.
The title of Possum Queen once again went to a group of performers anchored
by Joe and Micky Pratt and Sue and Mat Wheeler, all of Goshen.
They joined with about 20 others to perform a tribute to music legends such
as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Michael and Jackson, not to mention
ABBA and a legend of a different kind, Marilyn Monroe.
Even more impressive was the amount of money the
group raised through pledges and donations: $12,133.
Runner up was a skit performed by the Possum International Synchronized Swim Team,
or PISST for short. They performed a beautifully choreographed exhibition
while spoofing the U.S. Olympic synchronized swim team. Performing were
Gary Zeller, Rich Pratt, Matt Sweet, Val Caron, Jim Ferrucci,
Henry Wheelahan, Mike Bolton and Evelyn Meyer.
A third act performed a music number and generated $3,000 for the cause.
Members of the Murphy and Budny families made up the act.
Live and silent auctions generated money as did the
auction of a can of Possum Soup, which went for $6,310.
The successful bid when to a consortium of Steve Sage, Bill Brakeman, John Houllahan,
George Szigeti, Chris Korn, Tim Chapulis, Bruce Losee, Paul Lupinacci and the Village Restaurant.
There was plenty of bribe money thrown into the pot as well after it was
donated to contest founders and judges Brent Hawkins and Billy Neller.
Hawkins and Neller also declared themselves winners of the no-talent award.
Best in heels went to Sue Wheeler and Tina Blauvelt, the Dead Ernie Award
went to Joe Pratt for his portrayal of Dick Clark,
and the Brakeman Award went to Bill and Lee Brakeman.
The Possum International Synchronized Swim Team gets ready for action.
From left are, Henry Wheelahan, Jim Ferrucci, Gary Zeller,
Matt Sweet, Val Caron and Rich Pratt.
Eric Blauvelt performed as Roy Orbison.
The synchronized swim team displays its skills.
Joe Doherty portrayed an ABBA guitarist.
Henry Wheelahan rides on the shoulders of teammates.
Tina Blauvelt, left, and Sue Wheeler were ABBA's lead singers.
Members of the Budny-Murphy team celebrate their performance.
Kendall Roman did a great portrayal of Michael Jackson.
Micky Pratt played Saturday Night Live character Father Guido Sarducci.
The winning team celebrates the amount of money it raised.
Adam Wheeler, as Stevie Wonder, leads the winning team's celebration.
Mary Novajasky was in costume as an airline stewardess.
Patty Buonocore reprised her role as Vanna White for the live auction.
Rey Budny, left, led his team's musical performance.
more BZ photos
please send your donations to:
Possum Queen Foundation
P.O. Box 1865
Litchfield, CT 06759
Contact: Brent Hawkins (860) 309-9545
photos courtesy of Leslie Caron
2012 Possum Queen Contest
January 1, 2012 @ The Litchfield Inn
Possum Queen Contest sets a new $$$ record
What's in your wallet?
Wheel of Possum
Andy Rooney Impersonation
Adam Wheeler and his colleagues in the "Wheel of Possum" skit celebrate
their victory in the Possum Queen Contest on Sunday,
while below, the Vikings perform their skit. BZ photos
An epic New Year's Day afternoon at the Litchfield Inn saw a record amount of money
generated during a hilarious Possum Queen Contest that drew a huge crowd willing to
open its wallets, checkbooks and hearts to help some needy local residents.
Contest judges and founders Brent Hawkins and Bill Neller oversaw a monumental event that
raised more than $43,000 for the non-profit Possum Queen Foundation.
The judges are still tallying the proceeds and don't know how much they'll gross,
but it will far exceed the previous record of $30,000 raised in 2011.
"Absolutely fabulous," Hawkins said late Sunday night.
"They just knocked it out of the box."
Hawkins credited the legion of volunteers who assisted with the organization of the
22nd annual contest, those who donated items for the live and silent
auctions, and everyone who generously donated money.
"It's all going to a great cause," Hawkins said.
There was a lot of money-counting going on during the Possum Queen Contest. BZ photo
"The Bribe is Right" skit unfolds during the Possum Queen Contest. BZ photo
photos contributed by Leslie Caron
2011 Possum Queen
January 1, 2011 @ The Litchfield Inn
2010 Possum Queen
January 1, 2010 @ The Litchfield Inn
Can you identify all the places that Possum visited in 2010?