(AFP) – Nov 19, 2010
LOS ANGELES — The Thanksgiving turkey traditionally spared by the US president will no longer go to Disneyland, where it has been a star of the show in recent years, the theme park said Friday.
As the United States gears up for its annual feast next Thursday, a spokeswoman said the California resort had decided to end the custom of hosting the pardoned bird, which has been part of its Thanksgiving parade.
"Originally we brought the turkey here during the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, as maybe a one time thing, tying into our anniversary, and calling it the happiest turkey on earth," said spokeswoman Donna Fisk.
That anniversary was in 2005. "We did it for five years, and the decision (to stop) was mostly based on bringing new and different programs to our guests," she added.
The White House meanwhile said the spared turkey -- to be pardoned by President Barack Obama in a Rose Garden ceremony next Wednesday -- will go to a different home.
"After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens" outside Washington, said a White House statement, adding that the turkey would be on display over Christmas.
"After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon's nationally recognized livestock facility," it said.
The origin of the bizarre White House ritual dates from when John F. Kennedy was presented with a Thanksgiving turkey with a message around its neck saying, "Good Eatin,' Mr. President."
Kennedy spared the bird, and while US leaders have approached the ritual differently, Obama pointed out last year that it was president George Bush 20 years ago who formalized the tradition.
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