A Reason to Give Thanks! National Thanksgiving Turkey Will Celebrate Presidential Pardon at New Home in Disneyland Park

Special to The Travel Trolley

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The National Thanksgiving Turkey will really have something to celebrate following today’s traditional presidential pardon ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

“Courage” and his alternate, “Carolina,” are going to Disneyland! It starts with a ride to Dulles International Airport. Then the birds will “fly” on United Airlines Flight “Turkey-1” to their new home at Disneyland Resort in Southern California. The trip from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles will mark the fifth consecutive year that the National Thanksgiving Turkey has celebrated his pardon at a Disney resort.

Accompanied by National Turkey Federation Chairman Walter Pelletier of Butterball LLC, Courage, a 20-week-old, 45-pound tom turkey, will be the honorary grand marshal in the “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” Thanksgiving parade down Main Street, U.S.A. Following Thursday’s parade, Courage and his alternate, Carolina, 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.

Joining Courage and Carolina in the Disneyland Park parade on Thanksgiving Day will be 200 volunteers who, as part of National Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, Nov. 21, packed 20,000 boxes of food for Thanksgiving for those in need. Marching behind a Thanksgiving banner, the volunteers are being celebrated for their spirit of community service, the focus of Disney Parks’ “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program in 2010. Disney Parks hopes to inspire 1 million people to perform a day of volunteer service for a participating organization by giving them a free one-day admission ticket to a Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort theme park.

“It is a tremendous honor to represent the turkey industry at the White House and to continue this 62-year-old tradition,” said Pelletier. “Like all Americans, the men and women of our industry faced a very challenging year economically, so it will be gratifying to be at the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation and then participate in Disney’s Thanksgiving event to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving and the holiday season.”

Added Capt. Bob Hart of United Turkey-1: “Flying from coast to coast is a 2,288-mile journey and would be exhausting for a turkey. United is going to make sure that this flight is the most enjoyable and smooth cross-country journey these birds will ever take and a memorable experience for all customers onboard.”

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 62nd anniversary of a tradition that has continued through 11 successive White House administrations. The 2009 National Thanksgiving Turkey was raised under Chairman Pelletier’s supervision on a farm in Goldsboro, N.C.

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.

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