WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House hopes to stir up some “egg-citement” when the Easter Egg Roll returns on Monday after a two-year, coronavirus-induced hiatus.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden expect to welcome some 30,000 kids and their adult chaperones for the egg roll, an egg hunt and other activities.
The first lady, who is also a teacher, has named it the “Egg-ucation Roll,” the White House said, and is turning the South Lawn into a school community with a variety of educational stations.
It’s the first Easter Egg Roll to be hosted by the Bidens, who are expected to address the crowd and join in some of the fun, although rain was in Monday’s weather forecast.
The COVID-19 pandemic led the White House to cancel the event in 2020 and 2021.
Besides the egg roll and hunt, the all-day event will include a schoolhouse activity area, a reading nook, a talent show, a place to teach children about farming, a photo-taking station, a physical “egg-ucation” zone with an obstacle course and other exercise stations, and a “cafetorium” where children and their families will learn to make treats.
The “egg-stravaganza” will get a celebrity splash through the participation of “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, singer Ciara and actor-singer Kristin Chenoweth.
More than two dozen costumed characters will also be on hand, including Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, the Racing Presidents mascots for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball, Rosita and Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street” and Snoopy and Charlie Brown, among others.
Military families will be among the 30,000 participants, including crew members of the USS Delaware and their families. The first lady serves as sponsor of the nuclear attack submarine, which the president commissioned during a ceremony this month in Wilmington, Delaware.
Members of the general public received tickets through an online lottery.
The egg roll is always the largest event at the White House and it will be the Biden’s first big event. It will unfold in five waves beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m.
The return of this Easter tradition is a sign that the White House is opening up again despite a recent spurt of COVID-19 cases among some Cabinet members, White House staff, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband and members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Self-guided, public tours of the executive mansion also resumed on Friday in a limited fashion, after they also were halted in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said he was happy that public access to the executive mansion was “front and center” once again.
“As important as security is here, it’s also important that we keep the people’s house accessible to the people,” McLaurin said Friday.
The White House Easter Egg Roll dates to 1878.