Princeton, N.C. — A Princeton turkey has been pardoned and will now head to Disneyland.
President Barack Obama gave a presidential pardon to 45-pound Courage on Wednesday in an annual ceremony in the Rose Garden. An alternate turkey, Carolina, was on stand-by in case Courage was unable to perform his duties.
Accompanied by daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama stood under the North Portico of the White House to honor a holiday tradition that dates to 1947 – receiving a bird from the National Turkey Federation.
"I'm told Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson actually ate their turkeys," Obama said. "You can't fault them for that; that's a good-looking bird."
President George H.W. Bush was the first to officially pardon a turkey.
Obama joked about wanting to forgo the tradition and eat "Courage."
"Thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha - because I was planning to eat this sucker - 'Courage' will also be spared this terrible and delicious fate," he said.
After the pardon, Courage was flown to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., to serve as grand marshal of the annual Thanksgiving Day parade there.
Following the parade, Courage and Carolina will settle into their new home in Frontierland at Disneyland.
Courage and Carolina were raised on the Worley Family Farm, a contract grower for Butterball supplier Goldsboro Milling Company, Inc.
The Worley family accompanied the turkeys to the White House and to the parade.
"We consider it a great honor and we're so proud to be apart of it," poultry farmer Bryant Worley said.
Officials said turkeys competing for the honor of the presidential pardon must be socialized with humans.
In preparation for Courage’s parade appearance, the Worley family has played music and audio from previous Thanksgiving parades to acclimate him to the sounds.
Courage is the ninth turkey from North Carolina to receive the presidential pardon.