Tens of thousands of kids from across the country descended on the White House’s South Lawn on Monday to play football, basketball and golf and watch performances from the likes of Sara Bareilles, Justin Bieber and the cast of the hit TV show “Glee.”

Oh, and they also got to roll some eggs with the president and first family.

President Obama appeared at the top of the White House steps about 11 a.m., wearing a checkered shirt with his sleeves rolled up. He spoke only briefly before turning things over to his wife, whom he described as “the best speaker, the smartest and best looking of the older Obamas.”

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Michelle Obama, in a floral print shirt and pink cardigan, used the opportunity to highlight her campaign against childhood obesity, pointing out that in addition to the traditional egg rolling, kids could play basketball, football and golf and participate in other high-energy activities on the White House lawn. The theme this year is “Ready, Set, Go!” — a sort of homage to the first lady’s obesity effort.

“Today we have transformed the South Lawn into a playground,” Michelle Obama said. “We’re going to have 30,000 people in our back yard today, and we want every single one of you to have fun.”

Soon the first family, including Malia, Sasha and first dog Bo, had descended the steps to mingle with egg rollers. President Obama first cleared a stray egg that had prematurely crossed the starting line, then started off a line of egg rollers with a whistle blow.

“This looks like a fierce competition,” he said.

The now star-studded affair is a far cry from its humble beginnings as an organized event in 1878 — when President Rutherford B. Hayes let a bunch of wannabe egg rollers onto the White House lawn after police chased them away from the Capitol — but it’s still a heck of a good time.

“We’d love to see any of the presidential family or just have them do the Easter Egg Roll,” said Kim Bryson of Woodbridge as she walked toward the White House with her two children, Emma, 8, and Duke, 4, before the start of the event. “It’s just a tradition to do it. It seems like good experience for the kids to learn about the president and the White House.”

This year, like last year, the White House used an online system for people to request tickets, and distributed 3,000 tickets to local students and 4,000 tickets to military families. In information released in advance of the event, the White House said that 250,000 tickets were requested and that 30,000 people from all 50 states would be coming. At the egg rolling station, where reporters were allowed to observe for several minutes, kids moved through rapidly in groups of about a dozen.


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