- Associated Press - Monday, April 25, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some 30,000 children and their parents swarmed the White House grounds Monday for the annual tradition of rolling Easter eggs across the South Lawn, complete with games, storytelling and a visit from the Easter Bunny.

“I hope everybody is having a great time here,” President Obama said in brief remarks formally kicking off the event. He was joined on a balcony overlooking the sun-drenched South Lawn by his wife, Michelle; their daughters, Malia and Sasha; and Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson.

Mrs. Obama said it was “pretty amazing” that a record 30,000 people would be attending. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were represented, according to the White House.

The first lady pointed out to the participants, “The theme is ‘Get Up and Go!’ because, as you know, I’m a big proponent of getting up and going, making sure we’re moving and eating healthy, and this Easter Egg Roll reflects all of that.”

Mrs. Obama has traveled around the country to stress healthy eating and exercise as part of a nationwide campaign against childhood obesity.

She urged Easter Egg Roll participants to enjoy all the available activities, including story time, obstacle courses, yoga, dancing, tennis and basketball with professional athletes and, of course, the traditional rolling of pastel-colored hard-boiled eggs across the plush lawn that essentially is her backyard.

As the rest of his family and the Easter Bunny looked on, Mr. Obama blew a whistle to start one of the traditional egg-rolling races.

“Is everybody ready? Everybody feels good about their form?” he said before signaling the start.

As the race neared an end, one girl was left rolling long after the others. Mr. Obama encouraged her, then helped her flip her egg across the finish line.

The Easter Egg Roll dates to 1878, during the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.

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