The history of presidential turkey ceremonies dates all the way back to 1947 with Harry Truman. Not sure what he did, but it was something with a turkey. Dwight Eisenhower also had a similar ceremony with turkeys; only he ate each one that was presented to him. Kennedy (in 1963) gets credit for the very first unofficial pardon. Supposedly he spared the turkey at the very last second. Reagan made a joke out of the whole "pardon turkey" thing and tied it all to Ollie North. It really wasn’t until 1989 when it became a full on tradition for the president to pardon a turkey right before T-day.
SO WHERE DO THEY GO?
Over the years pardoned turkeys have been sent to 1 of 3 different exotic locale to live out the rest of their natural lives. The first was Park in Fairfax County, Virginia up until 2005. Now all turkeys are going to Disney World (or land)! Aside from gobbling up the sunshine (sorry), they get to be the grand marshal in the Disney Thanksgiving parade. Not sure what they eat, but I’m pretty sure gravy and giblets are NOT on the .