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Pardoned Turkeys Find Safe Haven

Herndon park is 'retirement home' for four famous feathered fowl.

Frying Pan Park welcomed its two newest residents last Tuesday just in time for Thanksgiving. Following a traditional presidential pardon by President George W. Bush (R), turkeys Katie and Zach made their way from the White House Rose Garden to Kidwell Farm in Herndon.

Local pre-school children dressed in pilgrim costumes braved a brief flurry of November snow and camped out at the park's "presidential suite," a red wood and chicken-wire shed.

The presentation of the traditional National Thanksgiving Turkey, and a back-up, dates back to the Truman Administration. This year, for the first time since the National Turkey Foundation began saving the presidential fowl in 1947, a female turkey, Katie, was one of the fortunate two. The turkey hen weighed in at 35 pounds and she was joined by Zach, a 50-pound tom. Both turkeys were raised in South Carolina.

According to a spokesman for the Fairfax County Park Authority, Katie and Zach joined last year's retired toms, Liberty and Freedom in the spacious indoor and outdoor turkey confines in Kidwell Farm.

Over the course of the next year, the park authority expects thousands of visitors to check out the pardoned turkeys at Frying Pan Park on West Ox Road.