It’s that time of year again. Congress is out of session, but things aren’t slowing down at the White House.
Each year on the day after Easter, the White House hosts its annual Easter Egg Roll. Approximately 30,000 youngsters and their families gathered on the South Lawn of the White House to take part in the festivities.
As many parts of the country are facing unusual springtime weather, Washington is no exception. The temperature was downright cold to be outdoors in folks’ Easter best outfits, but at least there was no rain.
President Donald and First Lady Melania Trump acted as referees this year, blowing whistles to signal the start of the multiple races. Most of the president’s children and grandchildren were present at the Egg Roll.
This year’s Easter Egg Roll was the 140th anniversary, yet many of the traditions remain the same.
The main draw is to compete in rolling Easter eggs across the White House lawn. Instead of the usual pop singers and celebrities, this year’s theme was simple and patriotic. The first lady opted for U.S. Marine, Army, Air Force and Navy Bands. There was also an Easter bunny and Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat. Several White House officials participated in a reading nook, where they read a book to the children present. Stations to color and write letters to American troops were also part of the event. There were also egg coloring tables and cookie decorating. For the first time, the White House held lawn bowling at the request of the first lady.
Of course the president couldn’t help but make a few remarks about his contributions to the economy, saying, “This is a special year. Our country is doing great. You look at the economy; you look at what’s happening. Nothing is ever easy, but we have never had an economy like we have right now. And we’re going to make it bigger and better and stronger.”
The American Egg Board presented the first lady with the 2018 commemorative rhinestone-encrusted Easter egg. They provide 30,000 eggs for the event—half are hard-boiled and dyed to be used for rolling, and the other half are used to eat in the form of “EggPops.”
The Egg Board is on hand for educating the public about the nutritional benefits of eggs and the journey eggs make from the farm to the plate.
The Easter Egg Roll is one of the very few events where the White House South Lawn is open to the public (well, if you were lucky enough to win one of the coveted lottery tickets). It’s one of two agriculture-related public events—the other being the spring and fall White House Garden Tours.
The White House Easter Egg Roll tradition began under President Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s. After a couple decades of not having the roll, children went to the White House asking to roll eggs, and President Rutherford B. Hayes granted their request. The tradition has lived on since then.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.