November 24th, 2010
08:52 AM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
At 21 weeks of age and 45 pounds each, Apple and Cider would normally be prime candidates for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Instead, the two California-born turkeys will get a new lease on life today when President Obama pardons them in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House.
Obama celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, which will include sparing the two birds whose names were chosen from more than 200 suggestions by California school children, a White House statement said.
Apple is the official National Thanksgiving Turkey and Cider is the alternate. After today's ceremony, they will head to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens for a Christmas display and then to live out their days in a specially built enclosure, the White House statement said.
While the tradition of the president receiving a National Thanksgiving Turkey began with Harry Truman in 1947, the first official presidential turkey pardon occurred in 1989 by George H.W. Bush.