The annual gubernatorial turkey meet-and-greet was killed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnesota is the biggest turkey producer and processor in the U.S., according to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Every year, one lucky bird gets to meet with the head of the state.

But this year, no bird had the privilege of meeting Gov. Tim Walz.

The event was canceled this year due to the pandemic because it attracts a few too many people, according to Walz's spokesman, Teddy Tschann.

Instead, Walz's crew hosted a smaller event focused on hunger at Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank in Brooklyn Park, on Wednesday.

Even if Walz would have taken a meeting with a turkey, it wouldn't have been for a pardon.

Though the U.S. president and other state governors typically pardon those delicious (or dry) birds, Minnesota does not.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association decided years ago that the turkey that meets the governor should not be exempt from the fate of its fellows on Thanksgiving Day, according to a Star Tribune Curious Minnesota article. The chosen bird is given to a family in need.

Zoë Jackson covers young and new voters at the Star Tribune through the Report For America program, supported by the Minneapolis Foundation. 612-673-7112 • @zoemjack