White House hosts annual Easter Egg Roll

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. They welcomed 30,000 people including singer Justin Bieber and the cast of "Glee."
By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 5, 2010; 10:17 AM

Tens of thousands of kids from across the country are descending on the White House's South Lawn on Monday to play football, basketball and golf and watch performances from the likes of Sara Bareilles, Justin Bieber and the cast of the hit TV show "Glee."

Oh, and they'll also get to do some egg rolling, if they want.

By 7 a.m., several hundred people had gathered, going through security to get to the White House for the 2010 Easter Egg Roll. The now star-studded affair is a far cry from its humble beginnings as an organized event in 1878 -- when President Rutherford B. Hayes let a bunch of wannabe egg rollers onto the White House lawn after police chased them away from the Capitol -- but it's still a heck of a good time.

"We'd love to see any of the presidential family or just have them do the Easter Egg Roll," said Kim Bryson, of Woodbridge, as she walked toward the White House with her two children, Emma, 8, and Duke, 4. "It's just a tradition to do it. It seems like good experience for the kids to learn about the president and the White House."

The theme this year is "Ready, Set, Go!" -- a sort of homage to first lady Michelle Obama's effort to fight childhood obesity. Children will get the opportunity to do yoga, play football, basketball and tennis and learn some dance moves at an instructional center on the South Lawn. Even the logo for the event -- a bunny running in athletic gear -- was designed to encourage fitness, said Joe Reinstein, the White House's deputy social secretary.

"The Easter Egg Roll is an entire day of play," Reinstein said in an interview in advance of the event. "It's all part of the same program, the same idea, which is called, 'Let's Move,' but the Easter Egg Roll is a great opportunity to have fun with it."

This year, like last year, the White House used an online system for people to request tickets, and distributed 3,000 tickets to local students and 4,000 tickets to military families. In information released in advance of the event, the White House said that 250,000 tickets were requested and that 30,000 people from all 50 states would be coming.

There appeared to be no glitches like last year, when some people reported being unable to log on to the Web site.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company