WASHINGTON (AP) – Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon roamed the wetlands of the White House on Monday, where for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, Easter eggs were made.
Unafraid of the rain, President Joe Biden and his wife Jill hosted the equivalent of a day party in the garden for about 30,000 children and adults, including celebrities and costumed characters.
A pair of Easter bunnies accompanied Biden to the Blue Room balcony to greet the crowd in their backyard. The first lady chose “egg education” as the theme.
South Lawn has been transformed into a school community because “education never stops,” said Jill Biden, a professor at the Community College.
“The resolute spirit of education is what we wanted to honor in this Easter egg,” she said.
President Biden said the “so special” opportunity to gather this year after the pandemic forced the White House to cancel Easter eggs 2020 and 2021.
“It means so much to see and hear the children and all the families who are here today,” he said, referring to their joy, laughter and random explosions “here’s the Easter Bunny.”
Biden’s grandson, Bo, was among several family members present, including the parents of the boy Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa. Also on hand were Biden’s daughter Ashley Biden and one of their granddaughters Natalie Biden.
After their remarks, the president and the first lady went down to the lawn to watch as groups of children with wooden spoons persuaded brightly painted hard-boiled eggs across a section of wet grass to the finish line.
“Ready, ready,” Biden said before giving the whistle to start the competition. He later coached a young cat with testicles, saying, “Go, you got it!”
The couple then visited a reading corner where Biden kept a copy of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” when the first lady quickly read aloud “lest you all get wet,” she told those who were waiting in the light rain. Falan later joined them and read his own children’s book, Nana Loves You More. Jill Biden’s grandchildren call her “Nana”.
Hunter Biden introduced himself to the people sitting in the reading area and to others lined up on the other side of the fence, sometimes carrying his young son Bo in his arms.
Easter Eggs included several other stations, including a talent show, a place to teach children agriculture, a photography station, a physical area for teaching eggs with an obstacle course, and a “cafeteria” where children learned to make treats.
Actor-singer Christine Chenavet also appeared in the reading corner.
The gates of the White House opened at about 7 a.m., and the first of five waves passed through them. Many came prepared for the cold wet weather with umbrellas, rain ponchos and plastic covers on prams.
10-year-old Maya Kennedy of Portland, Oregon, said that despite the weather, she had a good time at her first Easter bun with egg eggs at the White House. She saw some PBS KIDS characters and heard the First Lady speak. The fifth-grader said she also wants to meet Jill Biden.
“She’s really cool,” Maya said near the reading corner as she watched the first lady pose for photos with participants after the reading, including White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki and her family.
The Easter roll of the White House dates back to 1878.
Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Aamer Madhani contributed to this report.