White House Easter Egg Roll Draws Stars
Blogging the Beltway: Janelle Monáe and Forest Whitaker join the Obamas at the annual event.
A crowd of 30,000 visitors in total is expected on Monday for the White House's largest public event: the Easter Egg Roll. On Monday morning President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, "first grandmother" Marian Robinson and daughters Malia and Sasha arrived on the White House balcony (along with 14-year-old singer Rachel Crow of X Factor fame, who belted out the national anthem) to officially welcome the families (most of them winners of a national online lottery) gathered on the South Lawn.
"We are so excited to have you all here," said Michelle Obama, who detailed the range of activities on tap, including obstacle courses, basketball, tennis, yoga, dance, arts and crafts, musical performances by Janelle Monáe and Disney Channel tween stars, as well as storytelling by celebrities such as Forest Whitaker, Julianne Moore, basketball player Etan Thomas and Good Morning America broadcaster Robin Roberts. "I hope you put on your comfortable shoes. We've got ours on, all the Obamas here."
The colorfully dressed first family (except the president, who kept it conservative in a white shirt and khakis) headed for the lawn next for the traditional Easter Egg Roll, with President Obama blowing the whistle and cheering on kids to the finish line.
Other famous guests at the all-day festivities included chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Down Home With the Neelys' Gina Neely and Top Chef fan favorite and co-host of The Chew Carla Hall, all leading cooking demonstrations. Dozens of professional athletes were also on hand to help with the sports events, including Olympian gymnast Dominique Dawes, Olympian figure skater Michelle Kwan, WNBA players Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash, tennis champion Andy Roddick, soccer players Robbie Russell and Chris Pontius, and Harlem Globetrotters Herb Lang and Fatima Maddox. And helping to keep the music spinning was DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Cynthia Gordy is The Root's Washington reporter.