U.S. President Donald Trump (L) lifts the hand of a person in an Easter Bunny costume on the Truman Balcony during the 140th annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. The White House said they are expecting 30,000 children and adults to participate in the annual tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Easter bunny steals show at the White House
01:58 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

After a two-year hiatus due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19, the White House Easter Egg Roll is set to take place April 18, according to a release from the White House.

The Easter Egg Roll is the most popular publicly attended annual event hosted by the White House, which welcomes thousands of people over the course of the day to participate in festivities on the South Lawn.

It’s a tradition that’s been observed nearly every year since 1878, the most recent exceptions being 2020 and 2021, when first ladies Melania Trump and Jill Biden, respectively, opted to cancel the event in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. A lottery for members of the public to obtain free tickets to this year’s Easter Egg Roll opens Friday, March 25, and runs through Thursday, March 31.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden appear with the Easter Bunny at the White House on April 5, 2021. The 2021 Easter Egg Roll was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House is typically the hub of social activity for an administration, with several hundred events, public and private, held there each year. However, as the country grappled with the spread of Covid-19, the “People’s House” has also been relatively subdued – public tours were postponed, the annual Halloween festivities canceled and holiday parties, of which there are typically several dozen during the month of December, were dramatically scaled back.

Thursday’s Easter Egg Roll announcement also included news of rescheduled Spring Garden Tours, which are free and open to members of the public. This year’s tour dates are April 9 and 10.

Earlier this month, the White House announced the resumption of public tours, which commence April 15.

While the latest developments don’t mark a return to a full, pre-pandemic schedule, the decision to reopen the White House for tours and events heralds a tentative return to normalcy.

Prior to the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, an annual Easter Egg Roll for children and families took place on Capitol Hill, but complaints about the destruction to the grassy areas moved the event to the White House. In 1878, according to an article that ran in the evening edition of the Evening Star, per the National Archives, the first White House Easter Egg Roll was a success: “Driven out of the Capitol grounds, the children advanced on the White House grounds to-day and rolled eggs down the terraces back of the Mansion, and played among the shrubbery to their heart’s content.”

One hundred and forty-two years later, the tradition is on track to continue.

CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.