Background on the Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, November 21, 2011, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden. The President will celebrate the 65th 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 Cobbler and his alternate Gobbler, both 19-week old, 40-pound turkeys. The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Rockingham County, Virginia, where the turkeys were raised. Many of the submissions came from schools in agriculture-producing areas, where students have the chance to learn about the importance of agriculture to the world food supply and to our local economies. This year, for the first time ever, the American public decided which of the two turkeys – Cobbler or Gobbler – would become the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote via the White House Facebook page.
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 special program through January 6. After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s nationally recognized livestock facility.
Both birds were raised on the farm of Craig and Nancy Miller, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, under National Turkey Federation Chairman, Steve Willardsen’s supervision and in partnership with the Virginia Poultry Federation. Dr. Bob Evans, also of Cargill, handled the turkey during the Rose Garden ceremony.
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.