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Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release April 20, 2000
                      WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL
                  SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2000

Washington, D.C. -- The White House will hold its annual Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the South Lawn and the Ellipse. This year's festivities include an egg roll for children ages 3 - 6, musical performances, historical reenactments, celebrity story-telling, egg-decorating and other activities to celebrate the holiday. Approximately 30,000 children and members of their families are expected to participate in the Easter Monday activities.

The Easter Egg Roll has been an American tradition since the mid-19th century. The celebration, begun on Capitol grounds, was moved to the White House's South Lawn in 1878 by Lucy Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes. The Easter Egg Roll has taken place on the White House lawn every year since then, except during World Wars I and II, when it was moved to the National Zoo and other locations throughout Washington.

In keeping with the White House Millennium Council's theme of honoring the past and imagining the future, this year's Easter Egg Roll will feature historical reenactments by actors portraying George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Benjamin Bannecker. In addition to the historical figures, other characters on hand to greet children on the South Lawn include the official White House Bunnies, Paddington Bear and Peter Rabbit, among others.

While honoring the past, the first Easter Egg Roll of the new millennium will also embrace a future in which people are more connected than ever. Many of the day's activities will be cybercast, allowing children from around the globe to take part in the festivities. Web users can link to the cybercast at the White House website (, at the Department of Education's website, at EarthLink, and at more than 100 top Internet sites, including many of the most popular children's and educational websites. This technology makes it possible for more people to see and hear this year's Easter Egg Roll than all the people who have attended White House Easter Egg Rolls since 1878.

In addition to musical and historical performances, this year's Egg Roll continues to highlight Prescription for Reading, an innovative effort to emphasize the importance of reading to children. Based on research showing that reading to children in their first years of life enhances their healthy development, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1997 called on booksellers, libraries, hospitals, pediatricians and others to work together to make sure that infants and toddlers have access to books when they visit their doctors, and are encouraged to read regularly at home. In response to Mrs. Clinton's challenge, the Prescription for Reading Partnership was established to coordinate and build on existing efforts to "prescribe" reading for children. As part of this initiative, children and families at the 2000 White House Easter Egg Roll will receive Prescription for Reading bookmarks signed by Mrs. Clinton and Surgeon General David Satcher.

As in years past, Administration officials will also emphasize the importance of reading to children by reading aloud some of their favorite stories. Attorney General Janet Reno will read Voyage to the Bunny Planet; White House Chief of Staff John Podesta will read Because You're Lucky; Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala will read The Berenstein Bears' Easter Surprise; and Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater will read The Little Engine That Could. Other Administration officials joining in the story-telling include Surgeon General David Satcher and Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, among others.

Celebrity story-tellers include Julie Andrews, who will read from her own children's book, Little Bo: The Story of Bonnie Boadicea, and Deborah Norville, reading from her book, I Don't Want to Sleep Tonight. Christopher Paul Curtis will read from his highly acclaimed Bud, Not Buddy, which was awarded the John Newberry Medal, the most prestigious award in children's literature.

For the seventh year in a row, the White House Easter egg collection will be on display in the East Colonnade of the White House during tours for three weeks prior to Easter. The collection, which features real eggs decorated by artists from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, was introduced by Mrs. Clinton as part of the White House Easter Egg Roll in 1994. Coordinated by the American Egg Board, different artists from around the country are invited each year to create an egg for the collection. (Note: The collection will not be visible from the Easter Egg Roll activities on the South Lawn.)

Displays created by embassies from Japan to Hungary, Latvia to Luxembourg, Panama to Poland, and many countries in between, will show children how springtime is celebrated across the globe.

This year's official White House Easter Egg Roll poster, program and commemorative wooden eggs were designed by well-known artist Mary Engelbreit. Known throughout the world for her colorful and intricate designs, Ms. Engelbreit's artwork adorns more than 14 million greeting cards and 2,000 other products sold each year. Along with the Prescription for Reading bookmark and The White House Easter Egg Roll book, each child attending the Egg Roll will receive the official poster and commemorative egg designed by Ms. Engelbreit.

Tickets are required for the South Lawn Easter Egg Roll activities, and can be picked up at the Visitor's Pavilion on the Ellipse on Monday, April 24. Distribution of tickets begins at approximately 7 a.m. One person can request up to four tickets, but one of these tickets must be used by a child between the ages of 3 and 6. The South Lawn will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are not required for activities on the Ellipse, which will feature music and complimentary snacks such as juice, fruit, doughnuts and other treats.


                      WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL
                              BUNNY BASICS

DATE:          Monday, April 24, 2000

TIME:          7:00 a.m.         Ticket distribution begins at
                                 Ellipse Visitor's Pavilion

               10:00 a.m. -      Easter Festivities on the South Lawn
               2:00 p.m.

LOCATION:      The White House South Lawn

PRESS NOTE: There will be pool coverage of the President's and First

               Lady's remarks at the beginning of the event.  Members of
               the press who are not White House press pass holders who
               wish to cover the event should contact the First Lady's
               Press Office at 202-456-2960.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Every person going on the South Lawn will need a ticket. Tickets will have a time printed on them indicating the time each guest should enter the South Lawn. To accommodate the festivities, E Street between 15th and 17th Streets will be closed. As parking is severely limited, people are encouraged to use public transportation. In case of inclement weather, all events are canceled and are not rescheduled. (The event will only be canceled for very heavy rain or thunderstorms, and will continue through light showers.) For additional information, the general public can call the White House Visitor's Office 24-Hour Public Events Line at 202-456-7041, or visit the White House website at


                      HARD-BOILED FACTS ABOUT THE
                      WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL