The theme for the Easter Egg Roll at the White House may have been “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move!”, following the First Lady’s campaign against obesity – but the menu offered choices of cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, hot dog and curly fries, egg salad or peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
The Obamas welcomed thousands of children and their parents onto the South Lawn Monday morning.
President Obama said he was thrilled to have so many guests on a sunny Easter Monday while Mrs Obama said she hoped all visitors had comfortable shoes on to take part in activities.
Some 30,000 kids and their parents were expected at the White House event attended by the Obamas, their daughters Malia and Sasha and first grandmother Marian Robinson.
The annual event, which dates back to 1878 when Rutherford B. Hayes was president, featured traditional egg-rolling races along with a yoga garden, obstacle courses, book-readings, musical performances, a basketball clinic hosted by the Harlem Globetrotters, and tennis lessons.
After the National Anthem was performed by 14-year-old ‘X Factor’ contestant Rachel Crow, the President helped some of the youngest guests with the egg and spoon race.
He then joined the rest of his family on the book-reading stage. Malia and Sasha took turns reading from “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Philip C. Stead.
Obama followed with Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” which he called an ‘all-time classic,’ and encouraged his audience to join in the growling, roaring and teeth-gnashing of the characters.
“You guys were excellent wild things,” he said, before excusing himself. “I’ve got to go to work. I’m gnashing my teeth.”
Mrs. Obama kept to the animal theme by reading, “The Little Mouse,” “The Red Ripe Strawberry,” and “The Big Hungry Bear.” Also taking turns at the storybook corner were actors Julianne Moore and Forest Whitaker.
Other musical performers included Janelle Monae, Cody Simpson and the characters from Sesame Street.
The President found some time to fit in his favorite sport of basketball. The balls being used were emblazoned with Obama’s face and the U.S. flag.
According to Jake Tapper, ABC’s senior White House correspondent, the basketballs were bought by NBA stars taking part in the day’s events, and not funded by taxpayer dollars.
On the court, the President played the game “Shoot For Strength” with a group of kids and the Harlem Globetrotters. The game requires children to do push-ups for every basketball ‘sank’ made by the pros.
It took Obama 8 tries to sink a basket. He then joined in the push-ups that are the game’s ‘reward.’ “I’m all pushed-up-out!” he said afterwards.
Elsewhere, children could take part in sports with tennis star Michael Chang, NBA standouts Mitch Richmond and Daryll Dawkins and Olympians Michelle Kwan and Dominique Dawes.
Celebrity chefs were on hand to provide health-eating tips during cooking demonstrations.
Many children took the chance to dye hard-boiled eggs, leading to 14,500 being rolled down the hill.
Obama also managed to fit in a few minutes of tennis with professional player Chris Evert.
The event’s theme was “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move,” encouraging physical activity as part of Michelle Obama’s initiative to counter childhood obesity.