Watch CBS News

Rocking and rolling on the White House lawn

The White House hosted its annual Easter Egg Roll Monday, featuring basketball, tennis and a reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" by President Obama
Obama shoots hoops, gnashes teeth at Easter Egg Roll 01:08

Under clear blue skies, the White House hosted a crowd of over 35,000 on the South Lawn for the annual Easter Egg Roll, while music played on the Rock n' Egg Roll stage, and Michelle Obama showed the crowd that she thinks she can dance (she was dancing with the "So You Think You Can Dance" All-Stars).

Michelle Obama shows off some "Uptown Funk" during Easter egg roll 01:18

President Obama and the first lady, accompanied by Sunny and Bo, as well as the Easter Bunny, appeared on the balcony outside the Blue Room to greet the crowds of egg-rollers late Monday morning.

"We are so blessed to have this beautiful day and have these guests in our backyard, said President Obama.

The president cheered and high-fived kids gripping their wooden spoons in the grass, commenting, "This may be the best Easter Egg Roll I've ever seen," while the first lady hugged and greeted egg-rollers and their families.

Children participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll. Elizabeth Hinson/CBS News

Later, the president read to a group of children from his favorite children's book, "Where The Wild Things Are."

This year's theme, "GimmeFive", celebrates the fifth birthday of the first lady's "Let's Move!" initiative, and Michelle Obama challenged all Americans to participate. "We're asking Americans of all ages to give me five ways they're leading a healthier life: five jumping jacks, eating five new vegetables, maybe doing a gimme five dance."

Guests wandered around the South Lawn for cooking demonstrations, sports and fitness zones, egg dying and a yoga garden, all while being serenaded by U.S. Marine Corps band. The Rock n' Egg Roll stage, surrounded by cherry blossoms in full bloom, also featured performances by Diggy Simmons and Fifth Harmony.

Children participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll. Elizabeth Hinson/CBS News

Monday's event is one of the White House's oldest traditions, dating back to 1878.

As the story goes, after Easter egg hunting had been outlawed on the Capitol lawn, President Hayes saw tearful cheerful children while riding by the Capitol grounds in his carriage and invited them to play on his lawn.

Not too long after, the White House opened its grounds for the first annual Easter egg roll, and Monday, it opened it doors for the 137th year.

Today's celebration marks the seventh year the public has been invited. Tickets for the public are given out in advance by lottery.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.