WASHINGTON (AP) — The Easter Bunny, dozens of professional athletes and thousands of children were hippity-hopping across the White House's South Lawn Monday as President Barack Obama and his family were leading the annual Easter Egg Roll.
The theme of this year's event is "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!" — fitting with first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to lower childhood obesity rates by encouraging physical activity. The president's basketball court was open for play, along with an obstacle course and yoga garden.
A dance party was set up at the "Hop To It Stage," and professional athletes and coaches were helping teach their sports in the "Eggtivity Zone." Among the stars scheduled to attend were Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, gymnast John Orozco and Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
Two of the younger celebrities in Monday's lineup are Oscar-nominated actress Quvenzhane Wallis, star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and Robbie Novak, who plays "Kid President" in a series of popular YouTube videos. A track suit-clad Elmo and other "Sesame Street" Muppets performed and encouraged exercise.
The White House had warned more than 35,000 expected attendees that the 135-year tradition could have been cancelled because of budget battles with Congress this year. White House tours have been called off because of government-wide spending cuts, but the egg roll was not.
The National Park Service, which organizes the event, says it's largely funded by sales of commemorative wooden eggs, plus some private donations. The park service would not say how much the event costs.
The White House said 14,500 eggs were dyed for the egg roll and hunt, with another 4,500 hard-boiled eggs available for children to decorate. There are also special eggs that make a sound like a chirping bird so visually impaired children can participate in the hunt.