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Thanksgiving 2005

President George W. Bush invites children on stage, Tuesday, November 22, 2005, to pet "Marshmallow", the National Thanksgiving Turkey, at the official pardoning of the turkey at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. White House photo by David Bohrer

Thanksgiving at the White House

This year marks the 58th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. Though live Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented intermittently to presidents since the Lincoln administration, the current ceremony dates to 1947, when the first National Thanksgiving Turkey was presented to President Harry Truman.

The presentation at times has brushed against broader history. For example, the November 1963 event was one of President Kennedy's last in the Rose Garden. The first President Bush conducted the 1990 ceremony just before leaving for Thanksgiving with the troops in the Persian Gulf region. President Clinton in 1996 returned from an Asian summit and literally went directly to the ceremony.

The 2005 National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate are from Henning, Minnesota and were raised under the direction of National Turkey Federation Chairman Pete Rothfork. Mr. Rothfork delegated the day-to-day responsibilities to James and Vicki Trites of Henning. The birds are commercial turkeys used in normal industry production, and they were raised using the same techniques as other commercial birds. They were fed a regular diet of corn and soybean meal and were provided a continuous supply of fresh water.

A few minor modifications were made to prepare the birds for the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. About 30 turkeys were removed from the normal commercial production flock and are being raised separately on the Trites farm. The birds are periodically hand fed and given additional interaction with people in an effort to acclimate them.

Presidents traditionally have granted the National Thanksgiving Turkey a "pardon". For the past 15 years, the National Thanksgiving Turkeys and their alternates have been retired to Frying Pan Park in Fairfax County, Virginia. The farm is a 1930s-era replica farm operated by the Fairfax County Parks Department.

This year, after the presentation, the National Turkey and its alternate will be taken to Disneyland Resort and Theme Park in Anaheim, California to be a part of the holiday display and where they will stay the remainder of their natural lives. Both the turkeys will serve as honorary Grand Marshals for Disneyland’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Thanksgiving 2004

Thanksgiving 2003

The public has spoken. 12,726 votes have been cast and "Marshmallow and Yam" are the winning names of the Thanksgiving Turkey and the alternate that the President pardoned on November 22, 2005.

Democracy and Freedom
Blessing and Bounty
Marshmallow and Yam
Wattle and Snood
Corn and Maize

Photo Essays

Check out our photo gallery since first National Thanksgiving Turkey was presented to President Harry Truman. Learn more »


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