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Lottery opens for 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll

Thursday - 3/1/2012, 4:05pm  ET

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President Obama at the 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll. (Courtesy WhiteHouse.gov)
  • Gallery: (2 images)

WASHINGTON - The online lottery for the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll is open for submissions.

Entries must be submitted online by Monday, March 5 at 10 a.m.

This year's theme is "Let's Play, Let's Move," focusing "on promoting health and wellness and encouraging children to lead healthy and active lives," according to a news release from the White House.

The Easter Egg Roll is the largest annual public event at the White House.

More than 35,000 people will join the President and the First Lady on the South Lawn for games, stories, cooking demonstrations and the traditional egg roll.

The egg roll is a tradition that dates back to 1878. According to the National Parks website, young kids used to flock to Capitol Hill every Monday after Easter to roll Easter eggs.

"Members of Congress grew tired of the growing crowds and passed an Act of Congress which prohibited egg rolling on the Capitol grounds," the website says.

The event was moved to the White House in 1878 after President Hayes was approached by young children who wanted to use his backyard to roll eggs.

Fun facts about the White House Easter Egg Roll:

  • ) By 1899, the White House Easter Egg Roll had become quite popular, with over 8,000 people in attendance. In 2011, over 30,000 were invited to attend the event.
  • The Easter Egg Roll has been held at the White House every year except during World War I, World War II and the Truman Renovation of the White House, when it was moved to other Washington locations or cancelled.
  • President Ronald Reagan was the first President to hide autographed eggs for children to find in the Egg Hunt.
  • President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were the first to include the White House Easter Bunny in the festivities.
  • President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were the first to affix the signature of the President and First Lady to the commemorative egg.
  • First Lady Grace Coolidge was known for her love of pets, but none were more famous than her pet raccoon, Rebecca, who made an appearance at the White House Easter Egg Roll in the 1920's.

To register for the Easter Egg Roll, follow this link.

Watch the Bo, The First Dog, announce the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll ticket lottery.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)