Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday
More than 35,000 lucky guests, chosen by lottery, will flood the South Lawn of the White House on the morning of Easter Monday, April 9, for the 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. This year's theme reflects First Lady Michelle Obama's physical fitness campaign: "Let's Go, Let's Play, Let's Move."
In the 19th century, the event was held on Capitol Hill. Children were given a hard-boiled egg which they would push, drag, fling, propel or toss with a long-handled spoon as fast as they could to the finish line. Some in Congress grew tired of the ripped up grass and passed a law that prohibited egg rolling on U.S. Capitol grounds. President Rutherford Hayes was approached by young Americans to host the event in his backyard in 1878, and ever since, the roll has been held at the White House, continuing the tradition.
Year after year, memories are made, but some of the most notable include:
First Lady Grace Coolidge’s holding a pet raccoon named Rebecca, as she walked through the crowds.
First Lady Florence Harding wearing a girl scout uniform to the egg roll.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt showing the evolving sign of the times when she welcomed guests and addressed listeners across the country with the radio.
The first broadcast on the Internet was made by the Clinton administration at the event.
One hundred same-sex couples were accused of crashing when they stood outside with their children to show President George W. Bush that gay families do exist in the U.S.A.
Just a few years later, President Barack Obama welcomed gay families and even distributed tickets directly to gay rights organizations.
This year, the president and first lady have requested all natural and local food. Michelle Obama has even gathered top local chefs to teach children how to cook healthy meals in the White House gardens.
Other activities that will be taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s largest annual event include arts and crafts tables, storytelling sections, yoga classes and an egg hunt. A main stage is always reserved for pop music stars (Justin Bieber, Willow Smith and the Jonas Brothers are all previous performers), while athletes and celebrities walk around and say hello to the kids and even work the stations. A list of celebrity attendees will be announced on Friday, April 6, at www.WhiteHouse.gov.
Each guest is given a time slot for two hours on the south lawn and then will depart with one free Forest Stewardship Council-certified, U.S. hardwood egg with the president's and first lady’s signatures (a tradition since 1981 when President Ronald Reagan hosted a hunt for eggs with signatures of famous people). An on-scene report from the Georgetowner on the White House Easter Egg Roll will be in the next Georgetowner newsletter on Monday.
Before heading to the Easter Egg Roll, check out Bo's announcement of the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll Lottery