On Monday, President Joe Biden celebrated his 81st birthday by upholding a time-honored White House Turkey Pardon Tradition: pardoning two fortunate turkeys.
The National Turkey Federation revealed on Sunday that the chosen avian celebrities, named Liberty and Bell, hailed from Willmar, Minnesota.
Addressing the significance of the Turkey Pardon Tradition, National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Lykken remarked on the occasion, stating, “One of the perks of the job is having the opportunity to raise the National Thanksgiving turkeys and presenting them, of course, to the president of the United States at the White House. This event, certainly for us, is an opportunity to recognize the really hard work of turkey farmers and men and women throughout animal agriculture and the turkey industry, and this is no exception.”
Before their anticipated visit to the White House on Monday, Liberty and Bell enjoyed accommodations at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Lykken shared that the turkeys received a “red carpet welcome” at the hotel, complete with sightseeing recommendations, a bubble bath, and even indulging in items from the mini bar, according to Markus Platzer, the hotel’s general manager.
In preparation for their moment in the spotlight, Liberty and Bell were treated to some musical entertainment, including tracks by Taylor Swift and Prince. Lykken humorously added, “I can confirm they are, in fact, Swifties.”
The distinguished duo, hatched as part of the National Turkey Federation’s presidential flock in July, were raised with care, shielded from extreme weather and predators. They had the freedom to roam in their barn, with constant access to water and feed.
Lykken expressed confidence in the turkeys’ readiness for the spotlight, stating, “After the red carpet welcome by Willard yesterday and meeting all of you today, I think they’re absolutely ready for prime time.”
Following their official pardon at the White House, Liberty and Bell are set to spend the remainder of their days at the University of Minnesota, where they will receive expert care. Lykken even hinted at the possibility of them attending a hockey game.
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This marks President Biden’s third occasion of pardoning turkeys as part of the presidential tradition, which originated in 1947 when the National Turkey Federation presented a turkey to President Harry Truman.