Egg Rolling, DJ Lance, fresh fruit and outdoor activities on the White House South Lawn? Why, yes, please.
Yesterday, around 30,000 people from all 50 states and DC made their way to the South Lawn of the White House for this year’s Easter Egg Roll. Out of luck, our family won tickets in the online lottery for this year’s event and battled the traffic—cars and people—and let the kid have a go at this Egg Rolling business.
In addition to the generations-old tradition of egg rolling, the event reflected Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative introduced earlier this year. The Egg Roll’s theme, ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ echoed the First Lady’s campaign to educate kids about making healthy choices in an effort to combat childhood obesity.
As the official welcome, as seen in the event program, described, the White House’s South Lawn was transformed into America’s Playground for the day. The Easter Egg Roll, the largest annual public event held at the White House, featured stations and activities sprawled across the Lawn, which were aimed at entertaining and educating all the kids (and even the parents in attendance.)
Aligned with the Let’s Move initiative, the healthy activities were a welcome addition to the event. We spent most of our time dancing to the fun music in the Hop to It stage. We missed out on seeing Yo Gabba Gabba which played during a different timelot, but we had the chance to see our good buddy, DJ Lance hula hooping on the Hop to It Stage.
The kid even hammed it up for Ellen Degeneres’ cameraman while dancing to DJ Tony, who just so happened to play a few of his favorite songs, one of which included Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow. It doesn’t get any more memorable than that.
The Family Farmer’s Market was a cool area that gave kids a look at healthy eating with celebrity chef demo stations. One of the stations was the smoothie station, something that the kid adores, much thanks to one of his favorite shows. We loved the Make Your Own Garden, which not only used the White House Kitchen Garden as inspiration, but showcased some of the new seed packets from Sesame Street’s new gardening line (more info on this in a different post) We took home a watermelon seedling and hope to plant some sunflowers in the garden of our new house.
The sports station, geared to the older kids, featured demos on softball, golf, soccer, basketball and tennis. At later time slots, I heard professional athletes were on hand to offer the demos!
The performers and celebrities were quite the highlight of the day’s events. In our specific timeslot, the kid managed to sit in on Maria reading a story, with Elmo on hand to help out. Later in the morning, Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses, read to the kids as well.
Accessibility and Sustainability
The accessibility and sustainability of the Egg Roll were the two main aspects that impressed me the most. In years past, the Egg Roll was said to be reserved mainly for Washingtonians and other locals. This year marked the second year that tickets for the Egg Roll were distributed online. The White House extended this year’s event, beginning the festivities at 7:45 AM (yawn!) and an end time of 5:45 PM. Each group of 6,000 guests spent two full hours on the White House’s South Lawn. For the first time, guests from all 50 states and DC were represented at the annual Egg Roll.
As a parent who aims to be eco-conscious, I was pleased that sustainability was prevalent throughout the event. I appreciate that the event geared to teach kids how to garden, to shop at Farmer’s Markets, make healthy foods and much more. The White House said that it made an effort to minimize the environmental impact of the 2010 Easter Egg Roll. Some of the highlights include: the “greenest” souvenir egg in Egg Roll history, crafted from Forest Stewardship Council certified U.S. hardwood; goody bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic; the use of organically grown fruits and vegetables at the Play with Your Food station; and increased recycling and composting capabilities on the day of the event.
Winning tickets for the Egg Roll was a special thing, and one that a few of my Twitter followers and friends were sure to remind me about. As opposed to the events that we regularly attend for NKT, this wasn’t a blogger event, it was pure luck: Out of the 250,000 people who registered to attend, we were one of the lucky few. In general, we don’t win much at anything, in fact, we usually have the worst luck ever. So, even if it was an unexpected expense to travel to DC while we’re in the midst of buying our first house, and miss seeing most of our family this Spring, it was incredibly important for us to attend the Egg Roll. To experience this special event, and also to be a part of the Let’s Move campaign first hand, a topic that I try to cover as often as possible here on NKT, the White House Easter Egg Roll was a fun adventure we won’t soon forget.
And here’s more information, in case you guys want to know more:
Want to take part in 2011’s Easter Egg Roll, be sure to bookmark this site to sign up for the lottery for next year’s event. Sign up probably won’t start until early next year. http://www.whitehouse.gov/easterEggRoll
The White House welcomed the following performers and leaders in their field to participate in this year’s Easter Egg Roll:
· Sara Bareilles, Justin Bieber, the cast of the television show Glee, Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street, and Little Beat, The #1 Chinchilla and DJ Willy Wow! performed on the Rock ‘n’ Egg Roll Stage
· J.K. Rowling, Reese Witherspoon, Apolo Ohno, Mariska Hargitay, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Elmo and Maria of Sesame Street and Betty DeGeneres read on the Storytime Stage
· Billy Jonas and Miss Amy performed on the Ellipse
· Chef Art Smith, Chef José Andrés, Chef Cliff Wharton, Chef Nora Poullion, Chef Robert Wiedmaier, Chef Susan Limb, Chef Victor Albisu, and the White House Chefs prepared healthy eating demonstrations in the Play with your Food station.
· Billie Jean King, Gigi Fernandez, Ilana Kloss, Delaney Rudd, Liezel Huber, Katrina Adams, Anna Rawson, Jane Geddes, Kris Tschetter, Martin Gramatica, Michele Smith, Al Bumbry and Earl Boykins helped organize games in the Sports Zones
· NFL players lead children in healthy activities as a part of the NFL Play 60 Movement. Those participating include Washington Redskins players Kevin Barnes, Alvin Bowen, Derrick Dockery, Reed Doughty, Chris Horton, Marko Mitchell, Will Robinson, Casey Rabach, Justin Tryon, Edwin Williams, Anthony Montgomery, Lorenzo Alexander, H.B. (Horatio Benedict) Blades, Doug Dutch as well as, Baltimore Ravens players Matt Lawrence and Sam Koch
· The DC Youth Orchestra and the United States Marine Corps Band
50 Quick Facts about the White House Easter Egg Roll
(per the White House official press release)
1) Approximately 250,000 tickets were requested through the online lottery
2) This year an online lottery was used to give more guests from across the US a chance to attend
3) At least one family from all 50 states was successful in the lottery
4) 3,000 tickets were distributed to students of DC, MD and VA schools
5) 4,000 tickets were distributed to military families
6) The eggs are available in four unique colors – purple, pink, green, yellow – and include the stamped signatures of the President and First Lady
7) The wooden eggs are produced through a process of wood turning and barrel dying
8] 14,500 hard-boiled and dyed eggs will be used between the egg roll and the egg hunt, and an additional 4,500 hard-boiled eggs will be provided for the egg dying station on the South Lawn
9) “Chirping eggs” will be part of the Egg Hunt, to accommodate guests with visual impairments
10) The Official Souvenir Wooden Egg is given to all children at the event age 12 and younger
11) A total of 135,000 Souvenir wooden eggs were produced for this year’s event
12) The National Park Foundation produces the White House Easter Eggs and they are available for sale at: www.easter.nationalparks.org
24) The Easter Egg Roll is a White House tradition dating back to 1878 and President Rutherford B. Hayes, but there are records of informal egg rolling events as early as Abraham Lincoln’s administration
25) After the Civil War, egg rolling often took place on the Capitol building’s grounds. But by 1876, Congressmen grew tired of the torn up grounds and rowdy crowds and passed a law prohibiting the use of the Capitol Grounds as a play area
26) On Easter day in 1878, when the ban on egg rolling at the Capitol was enforced, some claim that President Hayes saw tearful children while riding by the Capitol Grounds in his carriage and invited them to play on the White House lawn
27) By 1899, the White House Easter Egg Roll had become quite popular, with over 8,000 people in attendance. This year, 30,000 were invited to attend the event
28) The Easter Egg Roll has been held at the White House every year except during World War I, World War II and the Truman Renovation of the White House, when it was moved to other Washington locations or cancelled
29) President Ronald Reagan was the first President to hide autographed eggs for children to find in the Egg Hunt
30) President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were the first to include the White House Easter Bunny in the festivities
31) President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were the first to affix the signature of the President and First Lady to the commemorative egg
32) First Lady Grace Coolidge was known for her love of pets, but none were more famous than her pet raccoon, Rebecca, who made an appearance at the White House Easter Egg Roll in the 1920’s
Easter Bunny and Ceremony
33) The First Lady is the official host of the White House Easter Egg Roll
34) The event cannot officially be called the White House Easter Egg Roll until the opening ceremony begins and the Easter Egg Bunny makes an appearance
35) The White House held a local poster competition and invited DC, Maryland and Virginia schools to submit their ideas. Submissions came in from 44 area schools
36) The First Lady selected the winning designs
37) This year’s co-winners are siblings. The program cover was designed by Kayleigh Geibel, a third grader at Dayton Oaks Elementary School. The other co-winner is Devin Geibel, a fifth grader from Dayton Oaks Elementary. Devin’s artwork serves as the 2010 Official Easter Egg Roll Poster. Dayton Oaks Elementary school is located in Howard County, MD
38) Kayleigh and Devin will be attending the White House Easter Egg Roll, along with their classes and teachers
39) All goody bags are made from 100% recycled plastic
40) The goody bags will include a brochure on healthy eating
41) The packaging of the eggs, made from recyclable paperboard, was designed to minimize waste and environmental impact
42) For the second year in a row, the souvenir egg is made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – certified, U.S. hardwood
43) Recycling bins will be placed throughout the South Lawn and the Ellipse
44) Many of the fruits and vegetables for this year’s event were organically grown
45) Food scraps from the Play with Your Food station will be composted – a first for the Easter Egg Roll
46) 7 American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and 6 nurses will volunteer at this year’s event
47) The White House Easter Egg Roll is made possible by the hard work of close to 1,200 volunteers
48) All volunteers attended at least one training session and some traveled from as far away as Texas to be part of this year’s event
49) Volunteers come from the White House, the Administration and interested citizens from across the DC metro area or beyond
50) Many volunteers will arrive for their shifts as early as 5:00 AM to help get the Easter Egg Roll rolling!