White House Easter Egg Roll brings in celebrities, excited children
(AP/ABC7) - An amused President Barack Obama read a children's book to a gathering of boys and girls at the White House, then peppered them with questions: Had any of them lost a tooth? Had any climbed trees? Had any fallen after climbing?
It was all part of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, which attracted 30,000 children and parents to the Executive Mansion's South Lawn for a day of festivities.
Obama, with his dog Bo seated beside him, narrated the popular illustrated book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" about alphabet letters and their adventures climbing up a coconut tree.
"So clearly the alphabet is full of troublemakers," the president concluded after offering his rendition.
Moments earlier, speaking from the White House's Truman Balcony, Obama thanked the crowd on the sunny springtime day before joining in the egg roll.
Obama high-fived the contestants and consoled 5-year-old Donovan Frazier of Scranton, Pa., who was sitting on the ground in tears.
"What's wrong," the president asked, scooping him into a hug.
The president also joined professional basketball players for a game of hoops with several children. He joined the WNBA team with a couple little girls, and their group was twice victorious in a shoot-out against the boys. Obama was less successful on his own - taking 15 tries to sink a basket.
"Oh, man," he said after a free throw teetered on the rim and fell out.
On a day that kids devote to chocolate and jelly beans, first lady Michelle Obama was able to stress her mission of physical fitness and healthy eating habits.
"Eat your vegetables," she declared, after reading "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" to children in a story time area nestled under a tree. The couple's daughters, Malia and Sasha, also shared reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
Mrs. Obama also joined chef Anne Burrell of the Food Network and TV anchor Al Roker at the Kids' Kitchen. The group sang, "put a little love in your food," as they prepared orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto. The first lady said the ear-shaped pasta with vegetables and nuts was a grown-up, sophisticated alternative to spaghetti.
Marian Savage and her kids have been trying to get tickets for six years. This year they finally got in.
“It’s just incredible, to be able to take pictures and be able to be this close to the White House which we would never be able to do and we live 20 min away from here,” Savage says.
Helping the kids through some of those activities is Daniel "Doc" Jacobs, the first amputee to return to active duty in the Navy.
At 27-years-old, he's now working to help other wounded warriors. But on Monday, he's here to help the kids.
“There may be a kid here who's dad an amputee or who lost his father in war and I’m hoping to inspire those kind of children and tell them it will be ok,” Jacobs says.
The White House's South Law was transformed into a rainbow of colors as boys and girls played games to the sounds of kids' show tunes and in the presence of athletes, entertainment figures and "Sesame Street" Muppets.
The festivities came off despite earlier warnings from the White House that budget battles could have forced the event's cancellation.
The theme of this year's event is "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!" - fitting with first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to lower childhood obesity rates by encouraging physical activity. The president's basketball court was open for play, along with an obstacle course and yoga garden.
The White House said 14,500 eggs were dyed for the egg roll and hunt, with another 4,500 hard-boiled eggs available for children to decorate. There were also special eggs that made a sound like a chirping bird so visually impaired children could participate in the hunt.
and in the spirit of April Fool's Day, the White House did their own kind of prank.
The White House Twitter account announced to be on the lookout for a special video message from the president.
"It looks like you were expecting somebody else," said Robbie Novak in the video message from the White House Briefing Room.
Novak plays "Kid President" in a series popular on YouTube.
"April Fools on all of you," he added.
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