The Easter Egg Roll is the most popular publicly attended annual event hosted by the White House, which welcomes thousands of people over the course of the day to participate in festivities on the South Lawn.
The White House is typically the hub of social activity for an administration, with several hundred events, public and private, held there each year. However, as the country grappled with the spread of Covid-19, the “People’s House” has also been relatively subdued — public tours were postponed, the annual Halloween festivities canceled and holiday parties, of which there are typically several dozen during the month of December, were dramatically scaled back.
Thursday’s Easter Egg Roll announcement also included news of rescheduled Spring Garden Tours, which are free and open to members of the public. This year’s tour dates are April 9 and 10.
While the latest developments don’t mark a return to a full, pre-pandemic schedule, the decision to reopen the White House for tours and events heralds a tentative return to normalcy.
Prior to the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, an annual Easter Egg Roll for children and families took place on Capitol Hill, but complaints about the destruction to the grassy areas moved the event to the White House. In 1878, according to an article that ran in the evening edition of the Evening Star, per the National Archives, the first White House Easter Egg Roll was a success: “Driven out of the Capitol grounds, the children advanced on the White House grounds to-day and rolled eggs down the terraces back of the Mansion, and played among the shrubbery to their heart’s content.”
One hundred and forty-two years later, the tradition is on track to continue.