the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on the Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, November 27, 2013, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony on the North Portico.  The President will celebrate the 66th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.

The President will pardon Popcorn and his alternate Caramel, both 20-week old, approximately 38-pound turkeys.  The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Roseau County, Minnesota, where the turkeys were raised.  This year, the American public once again decided which of the two turkeys – Caramel or Popcorn – would become the 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote for #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

National Turkey Federation Chairman John Burkel of Badger, Minnesota, his wife Joni, and their five children raised and selected the turkeys that will be presented to President Obama.  Students from Badger High School in Badger, Minnesota, who joined the Burkel family on their journey to Washington, D.C., will also be in attendance at today’s ceremony. 

After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.  The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a traditional program through January 6.  The turkeys will then travel to their permanent home at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill, the historic turkey farm located at the home of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) in Leesburg, Virginia.   

Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, gave President Obama’s family two dressed turkeys that will be donated to a local area food bank.