Meet Mitch E. Gander, the Michigan turkey pardoned for this Thanksgiving

In celebration of one of America's stranger traditions, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pardoned Mitch E. Gander this week - the lucky turkey that was spared the butcher's knife this year.

The name, submitted by residents of Harper Woods and Grand Rapids, was selected from more than 6,000 other entries across the state. 

Mitch E. Gander, a pun that only a resident of Michigan could love, is Whitmer's first pardoned turkey.

"For many Michiganders, the week before Thanksgiving is stuffed with holiday activities, meal prep, and time with family," said Whitmer. "But before we gobble down our Thanksgiving meal and baste in the glow of family and friends, it’s important to take time to reflect on everything we are grateful for. 

"Our family, friends, and loved ones, even though they might ruffle our feathers sometimes. Michigan’s health care professionals, armed service members, volunteers, and everyone who works hard to make our state better. I am proud to pardon Mitch E. Gander, and I wish every Michigander a great Thanksgiving."  

READ MORE: Thanksgiving travel: The worst times to drive in Michigan this week

Here are the runner-up names for the pardoning:

Runner-Up Names: 

  • Tahquamenon Tom from Kerry, Chesterfield, and Ben in Ann Arbor
  • Turcules from Jack in Brighton
  • Otto Moe Beel from David in Ann Arbor
  • Ryan Gobbling from Christian in Ishpeming
  • Simon Fowl from Jennifer in Taylor
  • Lynyrd from Dorothy, Chelsea, and Mike in Alpena
  • Mack E. Gnaw from the Hayes family in Cadillac
  • Roger Featherer from Joan in Kalamazoo
  • Steve Thighzerman from Sean in Ypsilanti
  • Tom Thanks from Sean in Ypsilanti and Elarose in Big Rapids
  • Teddy Roostavelt from Michelle in Manistee