By Dan Froomkin
12:46 PM ET, 04/ 9/2009
The White House Easter Egg Roll is on Monday.
First, this just in from the White House: "This year's Easter Egg Roll activities build on the theme of 'Let's Go Play,' which will seek to educate children on the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle."
And this year's souvenir egg is the "'greenest' egg in White House Easter Egg Roll history," says the White House. It uses 31 percent less paperboard than the 2008 designs! It uses renewable, vegetable-oil-based inks! You can buy one right now right here (at $7 each or four for $25.)
OK, so how special is the Easter Egg Roll?
The National Archives explains: "Special enough to convert the White House grounds into a children's playground. Special enough for Presidents to share the spotlight with the youngest of egg rollers and cuddliest of Easter bunnies.
"Access to the South Lawn of the White House, by the general public, is rare at best. But come Easter Monday, and the White House gates swing wide open, admitting a diverse group of little ones, escorted by grownups, to walk, run, and roll up and down the lush green ward.
"Easter Monday officially rolled into White House history in 1878, and from its earliest years this children's day of play has occupied every nook and cranny of the President's backyard. Canceled because of two world wars or an occasional bad weather day, the egg roll has endured to become the longest annual presidential tradition of the South Lawn."
In addition to the tickets that were made available to the public online, some were allocated to special groups, including military families. CNN reports that 4,000 tickets were given to local school systems, including 2,000 for children in D.C. public schools. And the Associated Press reported yesterday that some tickets were distributed to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations.