n 2010, President Obama pardoned Apple. This year, he'll pardon two Virignia raised turkeys. (Photo: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Back from a trip to Asia, President Barack Obama is taking care of some holiday business, pardoning the national Thanksgiving turkey.
The annual White House ceremony takes place Wednesday afternoon in the Rose Garden.
The tradition started in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy became the first president to grant a pardon to a turkey at the White House.
This year, for the first time, the American public got a say in which bird will be the national Thanksgiving turkey by voting on the White House Facebook page.
The decision was between Cobbler and Gobbler, who were born on the same day on a farm in Rockingham County, Va. Obama pardoned two turkeys last year.
The Rockingham County toms left Virginia on Monday for Washington. Two birds are sent to the White House in the event one falls ill during its trip to Washington from Harrisonburg.
The birds were raised by Craig and Nancy Miller just outside Harrisonburg. Craig Miller said the two toms each weighing 40 pounds were raised separately from the 43,000 hens he tends under contract with Cargill Inc.
A motorcade delivered the two bird, and they spend two nights in the W Hotel before the annual White House ceremony. They'll be retired at Mount Vernon.
The Miller family will join their birds in Washington.
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