Washington, April 18 (IANS) US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania on Monday welcomed more than 20,000 children and parents to the White House to hunt for Easter eggs and participate in egg-rolling races, a tradition that dates back to 1878.
The annual "Easter Egg Roll" revolves around children, who set about finding hidden coloured eggs in the garden bushes around the presidential residence and later roll them toward a finish line aided only by wooden spoons.
"On behalf of the president and (our son) Barron, we wish you great fun and beautiful days coming ahead of us," Xinhua news agency quoted the first lady as saying.
Specifically, the first lady was in charge of the activities, just like every year, and this was the 139th egg race hosted at the White House, although it was the first time the Trumps had been involved.
A military band was on hand to perform for the guests and White House personnel and volunteers worked "tirelessly" to create a "memorable" experience for all concerned.
Melania and Barron, who traveled to Washington from New York -- where they are living until the 10-year-old finishes the school year -- appeared with Trump, accompanied by a human-sized white Easter rabbit, on the Truman Balcony to address the invited guests.
"We will be stronger and bigger and better as a nation than ever before, and we are right on track ... I've seen those kids, and they're highly, highly competitive," Trump said just before blowing the whistle to launch the egg rolling race.
The children attending the event, some wearing red caps with Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" on them, took part in the race and egg hunt, decorated cookies, wrote thank-you letters to US soldiers and participated in other fun activities.
The smaller children also received visits from several Easter bunnies, along with Elmo from Sesame Street, Peppa Pig and Dr. Seuss, among other well-known personalities, who strolled through the crowd on the White House lawn and entertained them.
The president and his family, meanwhile, sat at the decoration workshop tables and helped children compose letters to the troops, along with greeting the guests.
The first lady also took part in another traditional aspect of the Easter event, reading portions of "Party Animals," written by Kathie Lee Gifford, to the kids.
This year, due to rain in the forecast, the White House had announced that the event would be somewhat curtailed, with only 20,000 guests on hand rather than the more than 35,000 of previous years.
A total of some 18,000 Easter eggs were made available to the kids, however, by the White House.
Also on hand for the event were the president's two older sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, along with their families.