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Gov. Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis host first state turkey pardon ahead of Thanksgiving

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Posted at 12:19 PM, Nov 20, 2023

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis held the state's first-ever turkey pardon Monday afternoon ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Four turkeys, named Gus, Matilda, Pumpkin and Maple, were brought in to Denver from Hayden Fresh Farm in Routt County.

The turkeys and Michelle and Colby Townsend who own Hayden Fresh Farm spent Sunday night at the Colorado Governor's Mansion ahead of the pardoning ceremony Monday, Steamboat Radio reported.

The inaugural Colorado turkey pardoning ceremony intended to promote local farmers, ranchers and producers, a news release from the governor's office said Monday morning.

Last year's avian virus outbreak was also a driving reason for Colorado's first turkey pardon, Gov. Polis said during the ceremony.

Gus, Matilda, Pumpkin and Maple are “going to- I believe it’s called Luvin Arms Sanctuary on the Front Range and they’re going to live out their days,” Colby told Steamboat Radio.

The governor and first gentleman was joined by Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg, who approached the governor about starting this annual tradition.

The first Colorado turkey pardoning comes on the same day that President Joe Biden pardoned two turkeys at the White House in Washington, D.C. earlier Monday.

Liberty and Bell, 4-month-old turkeys from Minnesota, were specially raised as part of the "presidential flock" and trained to be in the spotlight.

The tradition started at the White House, but the exact date it began is the topic of some debate, according to the White House.

Gov. Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis host first state turkey pardon ahead of Thanksgiving


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