Culture

White House Plans Scaled Back, More Traditional Easter Egg Roll

A child participates in the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

After a week of media concern-trolling, it appears that the White House Easter Egg Roll is all set to go, but it will be a smaller, more traditional affair this year. The egg roll grew to be a massive, almost circus-like event during the Obama years, with A-list pop stars performing, tons of costumed characters, and more eggs than ever. All eyes were on First Lady Melania Trump to see if she would be able to meet expectations.

The first lady tweeted out a confident message Friday, indicating that everything was under control and the president quickly retweeted her message.

The Washington Post reports that Melania’s more conventional approach “is in line with her personality and style,” according to an associate who has known the family for years.

“She is steeped in Eastern European history,” the associate said. “You can’t grow up in her region without being that way, and Mrs. Trump has a high appreciation for the thread of history and its passing from generation to generation, administration to administration and empire to empire.”

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Trump White House seemed woefully unprepared for the event.

“It’s the single most high-profile event that takes place at the White House each year, and the White House and the First Lady are judged on how well they put it on,” Melinda Bates, organizer of the event under former President Bill Clinton, said.

According to Bates, the White House had to rush order the commemorative eggs that are handed out to visitors each year, and only one Sesame Street character will be in attendance, as opposed to the larger number that participated in past years.

“I’m really concerned for the Trump people, because they have failed to fill some really vital posts, and this thing is all hands on deck,” said Bates.

Last year the Obama White House ordered 85,000 of the commemorative eggs, according to the Times. This year, the White House only ordered 40,000, with plans to give away 18,000 at the Easter Egg Roll.

“This year being our first, we’ve chosen to focus on the historic aspect of the Easter Egg Roll,” Stephanie Grisham told The Washington Post.

She said the first lady was concerned that the event had grown too large – 35,000 attendees last year – creating long waits for some activities.

The scaled-back event – the White House won’t say how many are expected, but noted that only 18,000 souvenir eggs will be given away – will recall an era when the biggest star in attendance was the Easter Bunny, who first appeared in 1969 when a member of Pat Nixon’s staff wore the furry costume. During the Obama years, the Easter Egg Roll drew performances by Justin Bieber and Idina Menzel, clinics by sports pros and presentations by celebrity chefs. This year the only announced performers are little-known bands Bro4 and Martin Family Circus.

This pivot away from pop culture is a safe tack for the new first lady, who has been acquainting herself with the way things have historically been done at the White House.

Will America approve of a smaller, less costly, and more traditional White House Easter Egg Roll? I dare say it will — if it goes off without a hitch.

It is not yet known if Sean Spicer, who wore the Easter Bunny costume during the George W. Bush White House years when he was an aide in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, will be reprising that role for this year’s Easter Egg Roll.