April 21st, 2014
01:07 PM ET
6 years ago

Obamas open up South Lawn to eager children for Easter Egg Roll

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama joined the Easter Bunny to welcome a crowd of children, parents and volunteers to the White House South Lawn on Monday for the 136th annual Easter Egg Roll.

The first couple walked onto the Truman Balcony, which overlooks the South Lawn, and the President wished everyone a "Happy Easter." As he looked out onto the crowd he added, "This is the biggest event we have at the White House all year long."

Mrs. Obama said there would be more than 30,000 people coming through the White House gates before the day was over. This is the one day of the year when kids have the run of the entire South Lawn.

During the celebration, there was a stage with live bands and singers performing, like internet pop-star Cam Anthony. There was also a storytime stage, where the first couple took turns reading passages from children's books. The President read from his favorite book, "Where the Wild Things Are," while Mrs. Obama read passages from a children's book titled, "My Garden."

And, of course there's the namesake of the event – the Easter Egg Roll – a tradition where toddlers take a wooden spoon and push or roll a boiled and dyed egg across a 10 foot swath of grass, ostensibly racing to be first.

For most children, it's just parents and volunteers who cheer them on. But one lucky set of kids had Mr. Obama blow the starting whistle while Mrs. Obama and the Easter Bunny cheered and helped the little ones get to the finish line.

The White House also opened up the President's private basketball and tennis courts, and professional athletes showed eager children some moves and coached them along. President Obama made a surprise appearance at the basketball court and shot off three balls, before making it into the hoop. The crowd around the President egged him on yelling, "Shoot it, shoot it!"

According to pool reports, afterwards the President posed for more photos with the kids before walking over to cheer on other children playing tennis. After a few practice swings, the President played doubles with professional player Sam Querrey and two youngsters.

Before the first couple came out, the Marine Corps Band stuck with the children's theme playing selections from classics like Sesame Street and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The White House said that other readers on the storytime stage included actor Jim Carrey, and reigning Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, along with former NFL player and NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and Sesame Street's Cookie Monster.

The first lady also used the event to stress the importance of healthy food and exercise. As part of that effort, the White House had a dance party, an obstacle course that included sports drills and a yoga clinic. While Mrs. Obama was on the book stage, she took a moment to encourage all the children to visit her vegetable garden and learn about tasty, healthy foods.

As the children left the White House, each was given a carved wooden memorial Easter egg with the White House seal painted on one side - not that any of them will need any reminding of this day.

Filed under: Michelle Obama • President Obama • White House
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Randy, San Francisco

    The annual Easter Egg Roll is a great event for children regardless of who is residing in the White House...or is partisanship so bitter that Tea Partiers and conservative purists still have to find something objectionable?

    April 21, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Good times, good times.

    April 21, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. devil's advocate

    A wholesome event hosted by the Obama's, cue the hate.

    April 21, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. smith

    I would have liked to seen Obama dressed up as a giant easter egg.

    April 21, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    Benghazi, IRS and Obamacare! The President is playing with children at the expense of the tax payer when he should be worried about Benghazi IRS and Obamacare! Liberal-dictator-socialist-muslim-anti-american-anti-everything the Republicans are for!
    – ______ (R)

    April 21, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Thomas

    It's discussing that the White House " Obama " is spending so much tax payer money on Easter Eggs and secret service wearing Bunny suits !

    This would never happen if Rick Perry was in charge ?

    Perry / Palin 2016
    Rabbits for a greener tomorrow !

    April 21, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. tom l


    April 21, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Great to see they had a sunny day for the event! Sounds like it was a lot of fun.

    April 21, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Funny the only negative stuff posted is the left posting negative stuff about the negative stuff that wasn't posted by the right. Sheeeeesh...

    April 21, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |