Welcome to the White House Easter Egg Roll! Known to insiders as WHEER.
A White House tradition since 1878, you can learn more about the history of WHEER here.
To summarize, the Monday after Easter, the WH grounds are opened up to the public (well, the ticket-holding public) for a general day of entertainment. There is the actual Easter Egg Roll, mazes, face-painting, character appearances, and much more.
In 2006, TGWH and I were invited by some good friends to be on staff for this historic event. We could not turn down the opportunity to spend 10 days in Washington, DC, setting up on the South Lawn of the White House so we each took our vacation days and headed east.
To say that it was uneventful would be a lie, but there aren't real stories to tell so I'll show you some pictures and give you some anecdotal information.
Welcome to the White House! Each morning we were greeted at the gate by heavily armed security personnel. After the first day, they obviously knew us so they would just hand us our visitor badge and off we'd go. It was pretty cool to see the looks people gave us as we strolled through the gate and onto the South Lawn. I'm pretty sure they thought we were important.
As I mentioned, there are characters who drop in at the WHEER event so we had to store their costumes in the garage at the WH - this may have also meant that we played with them...
It is pretty hard to see when you are Charlie Brown.
Also stored in the shed is the WH lawn mower - who can resist a picture with that?!?! TGWH also tripped over it at one point and traveled home with a pretty mean bruise on her thigh.
There are all kinds of secret areas on the grounds and we found one with the hand prints of George P Bush, from back when his Grandpa was the President.
It is not every day that you get to cruise a Gator around on the grass at the White House. As a matter of fact, typically you must stay on the walking paths - we had special privileges.
I will also tell you that at one point, the President himself came out of that door you see way back behind us. He was taking the dogs out to do their business.
You really don't want to stop taking pictures when you are on the South Lawn of the White House. I will tell you that it was SO hot the week leading up to the event. We were getting sun burnt and sweating and it was a nightmare. But we couldn't complain because it rains almost every year on the Monday after Easter at the White House. So we hoped that the heat would pay off at the end of our stay and we wouldn't be drowning on the day of the event.
No such luck. We each went through at least three hats that day because they would get so wet!
This is not even close to the number of people who would fill these grounds. I swear they just kept coming - I didn't know where they all came from.
There was definitely a little fun mixed in with the work. Sometimes it is tough to control the runaway eggs!
The view standing at the fence by the street. This place is HUGE!
The crew! Of course the sun came out when the event was over!