Today is the first Easter egg roll for the Obamas, and true to expected First Family style, they're going big with the event.
The Obamas are hosting 30,000 people from 45 states and the District of Columbia. That's a ton of egg rollers -- in fact, that's about 10,000 more than have been at past White House egg rolls. Despite the expanded number, the Obamas will be using the same crowd-control system from the past: ticket holders get two hour time slots to play on the White House lawn before they are ushered out and the next group comes in. With 10,000 more guests this year, the Obamas are going to be putting on an interesting logistics display. You can try to watch it live here since the Obamas will be streaming the event for the first time. Remember, they're not just ushering adults through. Most of this group is aged fifteen and under!
The Obamas brought on another big change this year by distributing the tickets online. A couple reports, including this one from The Washington Post, cited some angry rollers, mainly Washington area residents, who had lost their local advantage of being able to wait in person to get the tickets. It appears the the White House tried to ameliorate the situation by allocating 4,000 tickets to local area students. The Obamas also gave out 2,500 tickets to military families. The special tickets that have received the most attention this year are those for gay and lesbian families. In 2006, gay and lesbian families were accused of "crashing" the White House Easter roll. This time the Obamas made a special effort to invite them.
Check out a slideshow of the Obamas at the egg roll.
Watch the Easter egg roll live:
A couple other fun facts about today's event are below... and if you want to learn about past Easter egg rolls then go here.
1. All children under the age of 10 will get one of the 30,000 wooden eggs made this year for souvenirs. The White House will be boiling and dying 13,000 eggs for the roll (those might be too smelly to bring home).
2. The Obamas are presenting a new roster of activities to encourage healthy living for kids. That includes yoga, sports, kids' cooking demonstrations, and of course the egg roll itself, which encourages lots of running. Chef Spike Mendelsohn of "Top Chef" fame will be one of the draws in that area.
3. There are some big sports stars from the NBA, WNBA, and MLS leagues to teach basketball and soccer moves. They'll also be some high school stars from local schools to teach the kids. Washington Wizards player Etan Thomas will be one of the athletes giving demos. The question is whether President Obama will show off some of his hoop skills as well...
4. The cover art for the program was created by a second grader. Nineteen students from the Two Rivers charter school in Washington submitted artwork and Mrs. Obama selected the winner.
5. The books for the "Storytime Stage" were all taken out of the local DC library for event. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be one of the readers. The roster also includes Josh Duhamel. Ladies, keep your eyes peeled! Last year First Ladies Laura and Barbara Bush read along with First Daughter Jenna.
6. A White House Easter egg roll isn't complete without musical performers. Unfortunately for the Obama girls, the Jonas Brothers will not be playing. The kids are getting Fergie (likely why her husband, Josh Duhamel, will also be contributing to the event), Ziggy Marley, Jessica Jarrell, Steve Songs and Imagination Movers.
Check back here throughout the day. We promise to have some great photos of the event along with the live stream which should update here.