Nation & World News

Poultry Pardon: President Rewards America’s Top Turkey

By Bill Chappell on November 28th, 2013

A turkey caught a break in Washington today. President Obama bestowed the traditional presidential pardon to a turkey named Popcorn, who now becomes the 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey. It’s the 66th anniversary of the tradition that keeps a lucky turkey or two off the dinner table.

In bestowing the official pardon, the president also observed the tradition of cracking a few jokes at the short outdoor ceremony at the White House, where he was joined by his daughters, Natasha and Malia.

“The office of the presidency — the most powerful position in the world — brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities,” he said. “This is not one of them.”

The pardon came after the White House announced the results of “The Gobble,” a competition that pitted two turkeys — Caramel and Popcorn — against each other for the title of this year’s honored turkey. The two male birds were hatched on the same day at the farm of John and Joni Burkel near Badger, Minn., according to the White House.

Obama said, “Now, 80 turkeys on John’s farm competed for the chance to make it to the White House and stay off the Thanksgiving table. It was, quite literally, the hunger games.”

The two birds’ names were chosen from a pool of submission from students at Badger High School in Badger, Minn. They traveled to Washington along with the Burkels for today’s ceremony.

Both Caramel and Popcorn escaped with their lives. But they’ll have to earn their keep for a while — they’ll be on display for visitors to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia through Jan. 6. After that date, they’ll travel to a sort of retirement home for America’s pardoned turkeys, at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill farm in Leesburg, Va.

“This is a quintessentially American holiday, and during this time we give thanks to our friends and our family,” the president said toward the end of the rainy ceremony, “for citizens who show compassion to those in need, and for neighbors who help strangers they’ve never met.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

A photo apparently showing a Ferguson police officer wearing an "I am Darren Wilson" bracelet.

Ferguson Police Will Be Banned From Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Bracelets

In a letter, the Justice Department said the accessory was “exacerbating an already tense atmosphere.” After a talk with the department, the police chief said he would institute a new policy.


Bill Gross

The ‘Bond King’ Leaves His $2 Trillion Kingdom

Bill Gross built Pacific Investment Management Co., or PIMCO, into a $2 trillion powerhouse. But this week, he abruptly left, roiling the bond-investing world.


Thailand's Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, center, at the government house in Bangkok earlier this month. Prayuth, who seized power in May, has threatened to personally take over the writing of soap operas on Thai television.

Thai Leader Threatens New Takeover: The TV Soaps

Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha says he’s ordered a complete rewrite of Thailand’s daily fare of infidelity and violence, and if it’s not done right, he’s threatened to do the job himself.


A Parrot Bebop drone flies during a demonstration in May in San Francisco.

Lights, Camera, Drones: Hollywood’s Lens Gets A Little Larger

The FAA is granting six movie and TV production companies permission to use drones for filming. The move could pave the way for the unmanned aircraft systems to be used in other commercial ventures.


A screen shot provided by FlightAware shows airline traffic at 10:20 a.m. EDT Friday over the United States. A fire at a Chicago-area air traffic control facility has grounded hundreds of flights.

Fire Grounds Hundreds Of Flights At Chicago Airports

The fire in the basement of the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora, Ill., caused numerous flight cancellations at O’Hare and Midway.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments