Advertisement

White House celebrates 138 years of the Easter Egg Roll

Click to play video: 'White House celebrates 138 years of the Easter Egg Roll' White House celebrates 138 years of the Easter Egg Roll
WATCH: The White House posted a video online Monday celebrating the annual Easter Egg Roll, just ahead of hundreds of kids taking part in the 138th edition of the tradition – Mar 28, 2016

WASHINGTON – Calling the moment bittersweet, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcomed thousands of children to the South Lawn of the White House Monday morning for the final Easter Egg Roll of his presidency.

The egg rolling began in 1878. Now the event includes storytelling, musical performances and tips from professional athletes on how to play basketball, tennis and other sports. There are even cooking demonstrations and yoga. This year, the first lady added a fun run to the mix.

“I’m going to be running around the White House with a bunch of kids and any adults who feel like they can hang,” the first lady told the crowd as the president jokingly signalled in the background that the run wasn’t for him.

READ MORE: Pez Candy forced to cancel Easter egg hunt due to unruly parents

The Obamas spoke from a balcony that overlooks the lawn with dogs Bo and Sunny and the Easter Bunny at their side. They then went out into the crowd for some hands-on play. The president read the children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” a classic from 1963, and the Obamas acted some of the story out, marching enthusiastically with the kids as he read the line “let the wild rumpus start!”

Story continues below advertisement

Obama couldn’t resist heading to the basketball court, giving out hugs and handing balls to kids. He missed his shot as retired NBA players Shaquille O’Neal and Jason Collins looked on. The president also tried his hand at tennis, lobbing a bright orange and yellow ball back and forth with a young woman. Then he switched to doubles, teaming up with a boy in a bright green shirt as his playing partner.

IN PHOTOS:

18
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave on upon their arrival to their final time hosting the White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, March 28, 2016 in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
28
President Barack Obama holds up Stella Muñoz in the air as he visits children at the egg roll station of the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
38
President Barack Obama jokes at being overcome with emotion as first lady Michelle Obama talks about this being their final Easter Egg Roll at the White House, as they are joined by the Easter Bunny during in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
48
President Barack Obama reads "Where the Wild Things Are," Monday, March 28, 2016, during the annual White House Easter Egg roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
58
Two people wearing large bunny ears wait for President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and the Easter Bunny on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
68
Children roll Easter eggs on the South Lawn of the White House during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll March 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Story continues below advertisement
78
Children roll Easter eggs on the South Lawn of the White House during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll March 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images
88
President Barack Obama greets guests on the South Lawn of the White House during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll March 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

More than 35,000 people received tickets that allow them to walk on the South Lawn of the White House, rain or shine. Fortunately, the sun broke through mid-morning after a night of scattered rain showers.

Story continues below advertisement

The theme of this year’s event is “Let’s celebrate.” The first lady said she wanted to celebrate families and the nation in what will be the couple’s last Easter in office.

“It’s our diversity. It’s our values,” the first lady said. “That’s what makes us strong.”

The fun run is intended to highlight the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, which focuses on reducing childhood obesity. She also promised dancing: “We’ve got a little “whip” and a little “nae nae” – or however you do it,” she said, providing a brief example of how the dance is done.

Sponsored content