WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) – After a pandemic hiatus, President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris launched the first White House Easter Egg Roll in two years on Monday, resuming an annual tradition for children that dates back to 1878.
“Ready, set, go!” Biden shouted and blew a whistle to begin the festivities, in which children race to roll pastel-colored eggs down a portion of the South Lawn using long-handled spoons.
A light rain did nothing to put a damper on an event in which 30,000 children and adults were participating. Many top administration officials were on hand for the egg roll, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House press secretary Jen Psaki and their children.
“My job is to keep it from raining for another two minutes,” Biden said in remarks from the White House balcony, standing alongside Mrs. Biden and two people wearing Easter Bunny costumes.
While Harris blew a whistle to launch a wave of egg rollers, the Bidens went to another a section of the lawn to read a children’s book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” They were soon joined by NBC’s “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who read aloud his children’s book, “Nana Loves You More.”
The theme of the event was “egg-ucation,” and the South Lawn was set up with an education theme. Jill Biden is a community college professor.
The egg roll event is a tradition begun by then-President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. The coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of the event in 2020 and 2021.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis)