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White House Egg Roll Transforms South Lawn

President Obama speaks on the balcony of the White House before the start of the 2009 Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

By Garance Franke-Ruta
President Obama and the first family are hosting one heck of an Easter Egg Roll at the White House today. Thanks to online ticketing, 30,000 people from 45 states are expected to attend -- about 10,000 more than usual. The theme of this year's event is "Let's go play," to encourage young people to lead healthy and active lives.

The South Lawn egg roll, a Washington tradition since 1878, is open in two-hour shifts to pre-ticketed families with children 10 or younger and features athletic activities -- such as dance, yoga, soccer and basketball -- with stars of Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the Women's National Basketball Association; cooking classes with celebrity chefs such as José Andrés, Spike Mendelsohn and Art Smith; and live music from the likes of Fergie, Ziggy Marley and Jessica Jarrell.

The Easter Egg Roll is the largest annual event on the White House grounds.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 13, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Washington Life , White House  
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As a White House easter roll participant for the last 5 years, I can say that this year of "change" was horrible. It was "quantity" instead of "quality". Yes there was alot of things to do but with a 2 hour time frame, you couldnt do much. the line to roll the egg was 30 minutes so 25% of the time was taken up for that (but in my case is was 50% of the time)

We had tickets for the 1.15 pm and we did not pass the gate until 2.00pm so most people would think that since we got in at 2, then our 2 hrs would end at 4 (thats a normal conclusion---and we were at the front of the 1.15 line). WRONG---everything closed at 3 and we were told to leave (my child was devastated). We got to roll an egg and took one picture with the easter bunny and thats it. If I was from out of town, that would have been a very expensive 1 hour treat. In years past the goodie bags were at the end with everything in it; this year because there wasnt enough time, we didnt even see the "poster" and when we got the egg, we were told we couldnt go back to get posters and there was nothing they could do.

I guess if you have never been, then you dont know what you missed in years past; but this year it was a farce to the past 5 years.

Yes I am a democrat and voted for Obama so this isnt a Obama bashing.

The National Park Service has done this for so long, why mess up something that worked.

Each year we have been excited to goto the Easter roll; this year was total excitement that soon turned to severe disappointment.

If this is how it will be next year, everyone else can have these tickets; i will buy eggs from the park service.

Posted by: clrlumbee | April 13, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Right on one account - my spelling does stink. Wrong on another. Not a Republican. Thanks for jumping to that conclusion. I would say you must be a Democrat, but I wouldn't want to slam Democrats.

Posted by: proudamerican67 | April 13, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Where have I seen that "Look" before?

Barry does his Mahmoud AhmadineBad Impression!

Needs more Snout!

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 13, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse


You are lucky that they didn't screen people for admission by political party like the Bushies did. Based on your spelling skills and your petty gripes I would have to guess that you are a Republican.

Posted by: marSF | April 13, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

I was beat to the punch about that Gay Rabbit being straight from Alice in Wonderland!


Did they serve up Kool-Aid? ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 13, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

As someone who was lucky enough to get ticket for the last two Easter Egg Rolls, I have to share a few of things:

First, logistically this year's event seemed disorganized. The theme was admirable, but executed poorly. Last year there was more for the kids to do and the location of these events was planned much better. This year, the flow the South Lawn was poor, with dead ends and long lines. Last year there was a circular flow and we never felt crowded, though there were plenty of people.

Second, the system of hearding people in and out took away from the event. Sure, more people got tickets, but if you list all the great things to do and then not allow enough time to enjoy all these things, what is the point? Definitlely a poor decision by the staff.

Third, though I like Fergie and Ziggy, I thought this was an event geared for 10 year olds and younger. Though Fergie never sang the more colorful lyrics to her song "Glamorous", there were enough fans in the crowd singing "if you aint got no money take your broke %*& home". Priceless. Don't get me started on the Marley family legacy. If it is a family event, think before you schedule your entertainers. (I'm no Disney fanatic, but the Imagination Movers rocked!! They were one of the good choices this year.)

Last, I overheard too many comments from fellow attendees this year on the lack of free things being given away or the fact the egg roll was just stupid. Most of these comments were being made while taking loudly on their cell phones. It was appaling. Participation isn't enough unless you get free things. This overarching attitude clouded the reason we were there in the first place: To have fun with our kids and to maybe get to see the President and First Lady.

Hopefully they get to the Varsity level for those who are lucky enough to get a ticket next year. This year was a very "B-team" production.

Posted by: proudamerican67 | April 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Having trouble writing "President", Jake? I thought you'd be off picking herbs for your tea-bagging events.

This season you might try Peter Cottontail cocktail, a soothing mix of camomile and hemlock to sooth your jangled nerves.

Chris Brown in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown1 | April 13, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's summarize:

An event for children at The White House = Another opportunity for old, miserable lonely Wingnut JakeD to make stupid comments.

Posted by: marSF | April 13, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Nobody watches SNL any more anyway. (insert any ad hominem here)

Posted by: WTFster | April 13, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Heh, no shortage of materiel there, that's for sure.

But my question is this:

Who is in the bunny suit?
Had to find out and Wonkette seems to have the answer.

I thought it was Neil Bush but it seems it's not that bad.

Posted by: captainkona | April 13, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse


That vote was, indeed, the Fred Armisen Full Employment Act of 2008. That photo of Obama is hilarious!

Posted by: JakeD | April 13, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what's creepier. The Burger King head or that f*ing rabbit.

No, honestly. This is a good sign.

Obama has the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and Ziggy Marley at the White House...
Legal weed is right around the corner, folks.

This is turning out to be the most productive vote I've ever cast.

Posted by: captainkona | April 13, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

SNL is going to have a great season poking fun of this pResident Evil.

Posted by: JakeD | April 13, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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