A single lucky bird is spared the slaughterhouse and instead lives out the rest of its days in “Gobbler’s Rest”, a retirement home packed full with whatever it is that elderly turkeys require on a day-to-day basis.
This year’s turkeys are the delightfully-named Drumstick and Wishbone (only Drumstick was officially pardoned but both get spared the dinner table).
The event is also marked by jokes - really bad jokes.
President Obama’s were particularly noteworthy, honed over eight years and apparently crafted primarily to induce embarrassed cringing from his daughters.
President Trump - never one to stick with tradition - veered away from the cheesy dad joke and instead... took a swipe at Obama.
He said: ”Upon being pardoned Drumstick and his friend Wishbone will live out their days at Gobblers Rest. There they will join Tater and Tot, the two turkeys pardoned last year by President Obama.
“As many of you know, I have been very active in turning over a number of executive actions by my predecessor.
“However, I have been informed by the White House counsel’s office that Tater and Tot’s pardoned cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked.”
As he was finishing the pardon someone shouted from the audience: “Are you going to pardon any people?”
President George H Bush established the annual turkey pardon tradition in 1989 when he spared an unnamed, 50-pound turkey but the tradition is thought to stem back to President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 when he spared the life of a bird his son had befriended.
And just for background here are some of Drumstick and Wishbone’s vitals.