News & Politics

PHOTOS: Pardoned Turkeys Spent the Night at the Willard InterContinental

Chocolate and Chip, this year's pardoned turkeys from North Carolina, had a five-star evening before heading to the White House.

Chocolate and Chip at the National Turkey Federation press conference Sunday. Photograph by Evy Mages

On top of being spared this Thanksgiving, the two luckiest turkeys in America also enjoyed a night of luxury at the Willard InterContinental.

President Biden pardoned one of the two North Carolina turkeys at a mid-morning ceremony today, the 75th anniversary of the tradition. They arrived in DC on Saturday, and though the president only pardons one, both Chocolate and Chip will return to NC State University to live out the rest of their lives.

The turkeys attended a press conference with National Turkey Federation Chairman Ronnie Parker yesterday, and spent the evening at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, just a few blocks from the White House, as is also custom. The NTF is proud of the longstanding tradition of pardoning the turkeys, which dates back to the days of President Truman, because it spotlights turkey farmers and agriculture.

Chocolate and Chip spent the night before the pardoning in a suite, with their handler next door in an adjoining room. Though they didn’t sleep on the hotel beds, they were provided soft animal bedding.

Chocolate and Chip in their room at the Willard InterContinental. Photograph by Carmen Honker.

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Photographs by Evy Mages

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Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.