By Gene Weingarten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 14, 1998; 6:30 AM

From a podium on the South Lawn, President Clinton proclaimed the Egg Roll officially a live worldwide event, the first of its kind anywhere. Now, children in Jakarta and Nairobi and Tel Aviv can sign on and see the curious American ritual in which the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated by preschoolers flinging eggs with big spoons under the supervision of gigantic costumed rabbits.

Organizers said they expected it to outdraw, as a cybercast, the first images sent back by the Mars Pathfinder, another big event.

No need to battle the crowd! Just tap a few keys -- http://www -- and you get:

A little girl with a lollipop?

Maybe not. It could be an actor dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Hard to tell.

Next to him or her is a tractor. Or possibly a flag. Yes, it appears to be a flag. And that is definitely someone's armpit over there.

The whole grainy scene is dancing in herky-jerky slo mo, like Edwin Aldrin at Tranquillity Base, or old movies of the Kaiser's troops at the Ardennes.

Okay, so there were glitches. Nonetheless, the organizers of the simulcast, EarthLink Network, declared it a success, and who are we to argue? We didn't research it very long. We headed over to the event to see it live, the way people have done since the president was named Rutherford and ladies wore bloomers and moo-cows roamed the White House lawn and kids were pretty much the same as they are today, which is to say delightfully rowdy and impertinent and wonderful.

Live is definitely the way to go. There are certain things that just can't be adequately captured by a stuttering, lurching smear on a four-inch cyberscreen, such as when Megan Carroll, 5, a visitor from Chicago, watched the giant wandering pear-shaped pillowy rabbits, each escorted by a volunteer who held its mammoth mitt in a hammerlock, steering it resolutely through the crowd.

"Are the bunnies blind?" Megan whispered deafeningly to her mom.

"No, honey."

Mom and daughter walked on.

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