On Monday March 28, 2016, the US First Family (Obamas) hosted the 138th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. This year’s theme was “Let’s Celebrate!” and more than 35,000 people joined us on the South Lawn for games, stories, and, of course, the traditional egg roll.
In addition to all the fun and games, the day’s activities — which included sports courts and cooking demonstrations — celebrated the initiatives of First Lady Michelle Obama and the contributions the Obama Administration has made to the Easter Egg Roll. In honor of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this year’s event will also include the first-ever White House Fun Run.
This year’s White House Easter Egg Roll featured five souvenir eggs, designed by graphic designer and blogger Joy Cho. The collection featured four colored eggs with stamped signatures of the President and First Lady on the back, and one gold “Bo and Sunny” egg, with stamped “signatures” and “paw prints” of Bo and Sunny on the back.
The National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, produces and sells the commemorative White House Easter eggs. Each child 13 years and younger who attends the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn will also receive a souvenir egg.
The eggs first became part of the tradition in 1981, when President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan hosted a hunt for wooden eggs that bore the signatures of actors, actresses, famous politicians, and athletes.
“The truth is, we may not see this again in our lifetime, an African American family in the White House,” said Carla Backus, 51, a federal worker from Temple Hills, Md.
“With all the backlash, with all the bitterness they endured. It was important for us to be there today. It was emotional,” said Backus, who came with her 9-year-old son, Robert Richardson. “It’s important for me that my son see people who look like us in the White House.”
For more than a century, the White House Easter Egg Roll has commanded a special place on Washington’s calendar and in the hearts of people from around the region.
This year’s egg roll was even a little memorable (and frightening). The White House was put on lockdown Monday afternoon; visitors were briefly not allowed to leave or enter 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after a shooting at the Capitol Visitor Center. Capitol Police opened fire on a man with a gun; a suspect was taken into custody and a bystander was injured, police said.
There wasn’t that much drama at the first White House Easter Egg Roll, held in 1878, after Congress passed legislation banning children from rolling eggs — this was a really big thing back then — on the Capitol lawn because they shredded the turf.
Michelle Obama showed a White House crowd her attempt at the Nae Nae March 28. The first lady tried the popular dance move during the annual Easter egg roll. (Video below)
First lady Michelle Obama knows how much has changed in the 10 years since then.
“Today is a little bit bittersweet for us, because this is the Obama administration’s last Easter Egg Roll,” the first lady said, as the crowd “awwwed” back to her.
“Yes. And if we think about what we’ve accomplished over these past seven years, it’s pretty incredible,” she said. “Because when Barack and I first got here, one of the goals that we had was to open up the White House to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible.”
Mission accomplished. There were families from all 50 states on the lawn Monday and from every racial and ethnic background. But it was especially powerful for the African American families in attendance.
Check them out;