ANAHEIM, Calif. (Nov. 26, 2008) – The National Thanksgiving Turkey will really have something to celebrate following today’s traditional Presidential pardon ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. “Pumpkin” and his alternate “Pecan” are going to Disneyland! It starts with a police escort to Dulles International Airport. Then the birds will “fly” First-Class on United Airlines Flight Turkey-1 to their new home at Disneyland Resort in Southern California.
The turkey’s special Thanksgiving Day celebration is a preview of things to come in 2009, as Disney Parks asks guests, “What Will You Celebrate?” and invites them to mark life’s special moments with a Disney visit.
The trip from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles will mark the fourth consecutive year that the National Thanksgiving Turkey has celebrated his pardon at a Disney Resort. Accompanied by National Turkey Federation Chairman Paul Hill of Ellsworth, Iowa, Pumpkin, a 20-week-old, 45-pound tom turkey, will be the grand marshal in a special Thanksgiving Day parade down Main Street U.S.A. Following the parade, Pumpkin and his alternate Pecan will find a home at Santa’s Reindeer Round-Up at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland, where they’ll remain throughout the holidays and the rest of their lives.
Americans nationwide will be able to share the celebration as the turkey enjoys his new Disneyland home. See photos of the National Thanksgiving Turkey and watch video of this year’s White House pardon at www.disneyparks.com on Nov. 26 and 27. And, for the first time, watch the turkey LIVE from Disneyland on Thanksgiving Day from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. PST (3 p.m.-7 p.m. EST). Go to www.disneyparks.com, listen for the turkey’s gobble, and then click on the turkey face to access “Turkey Cam” LIVE from Disneyland.
“My family and I celebrate the honor of presenting the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President of the United States,” said Chairman Hill of the turkey federation. “We’ll also be celebrating the special privilege of flying to Disneyland where the turkey will be the grand marshal in the Disneyland Thanksgiving Day parade.”
Added Captain Vince Kramer of United Turkey-1 and Assistant Chief Pilot for United’s Airbus 320 Fleet, “United is proud to fly our special, feathered guests and to help them achieve every turkey’s dream of flight. It is a rare treat for turkeys to reach 30,000 feet, and we look forward to getting them to Los Angeles and landing safely and on-time.”
U.S. President Harry S Truman was the first Commander-in-Chief to be presented with a Thanksgiving turkey (in 1947) by the National Turkey Federation. This year’s presentation marks the 61st anniversary of a tradition that has continued through 10 successive White House administrations. The 2008 National Thanksgiving Turkey was raised under Chairman Hill’s supervision on a farm in West Liberty, Iowa.
The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the U.S. turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities which increase demand for its members’ products, as well as enhance the ability to effectively and profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious turkey products.