The Great Turkey Pardon Hype
Americans may kill approximately 46 million turkeys each year as a symbol of gratitude, but there are at least two special turkeys the nation really, really cares about.
The media had a sizable turnout today at a pre-turkey-pardoning event at the Willard Hotel, with the likes of CNN, the Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, Tokyo Broadcasting System, and the esteemed Washington City Paper turning out to learn more about the real turkeys involved in this annual presidential tradition.
People can still vote online to determine which bird gets the National Thanksgiving Turkey title. But don't worry, both turkeys will survive, and be pampered on a Virginia farm for the rest of their cursed lives. (Alas, all eight turkeys President Barack Obama has pardoned are now dead.)
The two finalists are Popcorn and Caramel, both of whom were raised on a farm in Minnesota by John Burkel, the chairman of the National Turkey Federation.Here's what City Desk learned:
- The two turkeys like to listen to John Mayer, presumably influenced by their owner, who also likes Mayer. They also like Lady GaGa and Beyonce.
- The turkeys will have spent two nights in their own private suite in the Willard Hotel before the president pardons one of them Wednesday. Parts of the suite were transformed to resemble their barns. The National Turkey Federation footed the bill for the room.
- Even among the elite, not all turkeys are created equal. Burkel says Popcorn is his favorite turkey.
- Popcorn and Caramel were chosen out of 8,000 turkeys.
- Turkeys have distinct personalities. Between Caramel and Popcorn, one of them is a little calmer.
- The turkeys are 19 weeks old and weigh about 38 pounds.
And here's a close-up of the two boys themselves: