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National Thanksgiving Turkey to Reside at Mount Vernon

Mon, 11/25/2013

For Immediate Release                       
November 25, 2013                           
Digital images available                          

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203   


National Thanksgiving Turkey to Reside at Mount Vernon

Through January 6

Mount Vernon, VA - Immediately following President Obama’s “pardon” of the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate, George Washington’s Mount Vernon will welcome the turkeys with a ceremony featuring trumpet fanfare and a proclamation read by Washington’s farm manager, “James Anderson.” The turkeys will arrive at their custom-made enclosure in a horse-drawn carriage, guided by staff dressed in 18th-century costumes.

It is especially appropriate that Mount Vernon was selected to house the National Thanksgiving Turkey as George Washington issued the first proclamation for a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789.

The turkeys will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon”, a special daytime program through January 6. After the holiday season, the turkeys will move to Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. 

The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate were raised by the Turkey Federation chairman John Burkel and his family on their farm in Badger, Minnesota.  The 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey flock was hatched July 8.  In preparation for their time at The White House, the birds were exposed to people, light, and noise so that they will be prepared for the White House ceremony.