Turkey alternate "Cider" will also be pardoned; First Family will perform Thanksgiving community service today, spend holiday at the White House
UPDATE: A full post about today's ceremony is here. Read about Apple and Cider's stay at DC's W Hotel here. Wednesday afternoon, the First Family packed Thanksgiving food bags for DC residents. First Lady Michelle Obama's Thanksgiving message is here. President Obama's Thanksgiving Proclamation is here.
President Obama will keep up the longstanding tradition of Presidential Turkey Pardons today, when he grants clemency to "Apple," a 21-week-old, 45-pound tom turkey raised in California at Foster Farms. The ceremony will take place at 10:30 AM ET. According to the White House, as the President celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation, he'll "reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday." The National Turkey's name was top secret until today, as was the name of the alternate tom, "Cider." (Above: President Obama at today's ceremony, with daughters Malia and Sasha, and National Turkey Federation chairman Yubert Envia)
Read all about the two big boys, and their brethren in the special Foster Farms Presidential Flock in this post. (Above: As the President looks on, Malia Obama pats the 2009 turkey during the ceremony)
As for the President's plans for celebrating Thanksgiving?
"He’s going to stick around the White House, eat some turkey," Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said on Wednesday.
This afternoon, at 4:30 PM, the First Family will participate in an as yet-to-be-revealed community service event in Washington, DC. Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pa., gave the First Family two dressed turkeys that will be donated to Martha’s Table, a local organization that helps feed and clothe those in need. Last year on the day before Thanksgiving, the First Family packed special Thanksgiving food bags at Martha's Table, which were donated to DC residents.
>President Obama's Thanksgiving Proclamation is here
Apple and Cider have both been specially trained for today's Big Event with President Obama.
The turkeys have to be able to behave like model citizens in front of the mob of media who will be present to record the historic event, and thus have been exposed to crowds and loud music, as well as tuaght to stand on a table. They even have a favorite song, according to Foster Farms turkey PR man Ira Brill. That would be "Fly Like An Eagle," by Steve Miller.
The turkeys' trainer, Foster Farms' Ira Brister, and National Turkey Federation Chairman Yubert Envia, who oversees flock operations at Foster Farms, will join President Obama at today's presentation ceremony. Apple and Cider are the second set of California turkeys chosen for the pardon; the last Golden State turkey duo were pardoned in 1995.
The toms' names were chosen from a list of more than 200 names given to the White House, created by California school kids who got visits this Fall from Apple and Cider's brethren in the Foster Farms Presidential Flock. for his first Presidential Pardon, last year Mr. Obama pardoned a turkey named Courage; his alternate was Carolina.
Apple and Cider will live at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens...
In past years, the National Turkey was sent off to be the Grand Marshall at Disneyland's Thanksgiving Parade, but this year things are very different. After the ceremony with President Obama, the Apple and Cider will be driven to the former home of President George Washington, the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, which is across the state line in Virginia. Apple and Cider will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a special program through January 6. After the holidays, both will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s nationally recognized livestock facility. (Above: The main house at Mt. Vernon)
Last year, for their first White House Thanksgiving, the Obamas hosted about fifty guests, which included pals from Chicago and White House staff and their families. The traditional Thanksgiving menu featured six different pies, courtesy of Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.