Obama holds star-studded Easter Egg roll



WASHINGTON- President Barack Obama put a new twist on the traditional White House Easter Egg roll Monday, with a star-studded cast and an emphasis on healthy eating for 30,000 kids and their families.
Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama invited NFL players to toss footballs with aspiring quarterbacks, and "Harry Potter" creator J.K Rowling, was spinning magic on a storytime stage.
"Is everybody having a good time?" Obama said, as he welcomed guests to the South Lawn of the White House, appearing on the balcony of the presidential mansion alongside his daughters Malia and Sasha and a big Easter bunny.



US President Barack Obama at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
US President Barack Obama at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
"Happy Easter, everybody. We are thrilled that all of you could come."
Michelle Obama, who was responsible for planning the egg-stravanza, said the thousands of kids who braved long queues to get in, could have fun, and learn about healthy living.
"Today we have transformed the South Lawn into a playground," she said.
"Our hope today is that in addition to having fun and doing some of the traditional activities like the egg roll and the Easter egg hunt, that you can learn about beginning to live a more healthy life."
In keeping with the theme, the president gathered a bunch of children and energetically read the story "Green Eggs and Ham," by Dr Seuss, about a character who refuses to eat the dish, but finally decides he likes it.
"When your parents tell you to eat your broccoli, you don't know whether you're going to like them or not. You've got to try it," he said. "When your parents tell you to eat your peas, eat your peas."
The event, a tradition dating back to 1878, unfolded on a sunny day with an unmistakable taste of spring in the air.
Obama later took part in another revered presidential springtime tradition later by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on the baseball season's opening day, at a Washington Nationals game.
Also starring in the festivities on the manicured South Lawn of the White House, was Michelle Obama's kitchen garden, a project backing her crusade for healthy eating and home grown produce.
To one side of the lawn was a big sound stage, which hosted performances including a set by teen pop star Justin Bieber.
Kids got the chance to take part in a cooking demonstration with White House chefs, to pick tangerines and apples from a barrel and to shoot baskets on the White House tennis court, as well as join egg hunts and egg rolling races.
Every child who got to go to the White House went home with a souvenir egg, made from certified US hardwood, and packed in recyclable paperboard packaging.
Goody bags were made from 100-percent recycled plastic, and included a brochure on healthy eating while fruits and vegetables on display at the event were organically grown.
Kids also got the chance to try new sports with demonstrations of softball, golf, soccer, basketball and tennis, and could also throw footballs with players from the hometown Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington.
The first White House Easter Egg Roll took place in 1878, when president Rutherford Hayes invited local children to roll eggs on the South Lawn.
The egg roll has been held at the White House every year apart from the dark days of World War I and World War II and later when ex-president Harry S Truman was renovating the presidential mansion.
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Monday, April 5th 2010
AFP
           


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