Fun in the Sun at the White House Easter Egg Roll
Families from across the country celebrate on the South Lawn
The First Family take turns reading aloud from Where the Wild Things Are during story time at the Easter Egg Roll. CREDIT: Hannah Prensky
More than 35,000 people arrived on Easter Monday on the White House South Lawn for the biggest day of Egg Roll fun in Presidential history.
President Barack Obama kicked off the event. "My job is very simple: It is to introduce the powerhouse of the White House, the one truly in charge, as Malia, Sasha and Bo all know -- the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama."
The First Family, accompanied by the traditional Easter Bunny, waved and said hello to the vast crowd standing in their backyard.
"It is a beautiful day, perfect weather; we are so excited to have you all here. We've got a great set of activities", the First Lady announced. "I hope you all enjoy it and I hope you all have your comfortable shoes on, I know I do."
This year's theme was "Let's Go, Let's Play, Let's Move," and the activities reflected the idea of promoting health and wellness, and encouraging children to lead healthy and active lives. From making jump ropes, to playing tennis and basketball, playing with food and getting active with yoga, there was something for everyone.
Kids enjoyed meeting beloved costumed characters who wandered the lawn-Bugs Bunny, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, Papa Smurf, Sid the Science Kid, Scooby Doo, and many more.
A favorite among the attendees was the egg rolling station, where children rolled an egg with a wooden spoon across a piece of the lawn. Thousands of real eggs were boiled and dyed in pastel colors in preparation for this event.
The President hosted a few rounds of the egg rolling, played basketball, and did some push-ups on the lawn. The First Family took turns reading aloud from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak during story time.
Many celebrity guests came to enjoy the fun. Actress Julianne Moore read her book Freckleface Strawberry, professional tennis player Chris Evert hosted tennis matches, and some lucky kids got to play basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters! Well-known chefs like Bryan Voltaggio and Patrick and Gina Neely showed kids how to prepare easy snacks that are also healthy and delicious.
"We did face painting, egg dying, arts and crafts, and we met the Easter Bunny," Cara and Julia Kamoie, ages seven and five, explained.
Leia Webb brought her two young daughters, Meadow, 4, and Briar, 2, to the event. "This is a lot better organized than I thought it would be. I like that Michelle Obama is trying to get kids fit and eating healthy. I like that they have whole foods, and they make kids jump rope and do healthy activities like yoga and sports" she said.
People from all 50 states came to Washington D.C. to take part in this occasion. Eight-year-old Sam English and his family flew from Booneville, Mississippi. He thought it was "egg-straordinary" to be on the South Lawn. He also told me that he is a guest of his friend Reed Lindsey, 9, whose artwork was selected by Michelle Obama to be the official Easter Egg Roll Poster for 2012.
"Well, I know it's once in a lifetime. We're never going to be able to do it again, and I just think being here is really cool," said Carter O'Donnel, 9, whose family drove all the way from Sheffield, Pennsylvania to be at the Egg Roll this year.
The Easter tradition started in 1878 when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. In the past 134 years, the White House Egg Roll has featured some of the same activities, which include the obstacle course, story telling, musical performances, and of course- egg rolling races.