The National Thanksgiving Turkey is a time-honored tradition for the White House and Minnesota is proud that we may receive an invitation this year to participate!
Above is a photo of Minnesota turkey farmer Grady McCulley, far right, presenting a turkey to President Harry S. Truman in 1949 – Mr. McCulley was the first Minnesota turkey farmer to have this honor and he served as chairman of the National Turkey Federation that year.
Here are some fun facts about the National Thanksgiving Turkey:
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) first presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Harry S. Truman in 1947.
- This year’s presentation marks the 66th anniversary of a tradition that has continued through 11 successive administrations.
- The annual presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the president has become a highly anticipated ritual in the nation’s capital, signaling the unofficial beginning of the holiday season and providing the president an opportunity to reflect publicly on the meaning of Thanksgiving.
- Early National Thanksgiving Turkeys were destined for a dinner plate until President George H.W. Bush began the official tradition of pardoning the turkey in 1989.
- With any luck, the Minnesota Turkey this year will serve his duty proudly at the White House and then be brought (along with his lucky alternate!) to Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, the home of George Washington, for the holiday season.
- The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a special program that runs in December and part of January.
- After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will move to Morven Park in Leesburg, VA to live out the rest of their lives.
Learn more about Mount Vernon: www.mountvernon.org
Holidays at the White House: www.whitehouse.gov/holidays
List of National Thanksgiving Turkey Names, 1999-2012 (PDF file)