What would the star of this holiday supper be most thankful for? A Presidential pardon, of course! Each year (and especially since 2002), a special ceremony spares a pair of birds from slaugher and sends them on their merry way to a long life of leisure and luxury.
So what’s the story on these grateful gobblers? Well, this year’s birds are from Minnesota – interestingly, the largest turkey producing state in the U.S. – and yes there are two of them. Only one is a performer in the pardoning ceremony; the alternate gets pardoned as well, but is more of a “stunt double” of sorts, in case the main attraction gets antsy… And (watch out!) this year’s turkey is “a bit of a flier,” according to W Hotel publicist Barbara Martin.
How would she know? Well, tonight (Tuesday), just as last year, the young trotter will enjoy his/their own custom suite at the W, gorging on berries and acorns before dressing up to head to the White House where he’s traditionally pardoned in the Rose Garden in what last year President Obama joked was “one of the most important duties [that I carry out as President].”
And then… well, here’s where he’ll get really thankful. Post pardoning, the birds are off to George Washington’s estate, where they will continue to celebrate holiday festivities with much fanfare through December 6, and then live out their lives without any fear of ever sitting next to anyone’s Thanksgiving cranberry sauce and stuffing.