The Hayes Easter Egg Roll continues a tradition started in 1878

The Hayes Easter Egg Roll continues a tradition started in 1878

Three Easter eggs sit below colorful tulips.

During one of his daily strolls about Washington, D.C., in the spring of 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes came upon a group of unhappy children, upset that they had nowhere to roll their Easter eggs.

Rolling Easter eggs was a popular children’s game of the day, so President Hayes and First Lady Lucy decided to help the kids. They struck upon an idea for an event that’s made thousands of children happy for nearly 140 years — the White House Easter Egg Roll.

On March 26, the Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in Fremont in Sandusky County will observe the 138th anniversary of the first White House egg roll with their own Hayes Easter Egg Roll. The cost of admission is three hard-boiled eggs, brightly colored, if you please.

Meanwhile, on March 28, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle will welcome as many as 12,000 children to the south lawn of the White House, continuing the Hayes tradition.

“Rutherford and Lucy loved children — they had eight of their own — so when they learned that Congress had passed a law forbidding children to play their Easter games, especially egg rolling, on the Capitol grounds as they had for years, the President and First Lady had to do something about it,” said Nancy Kleinhenz, the Hayes library and museums communications and marketing manager.

Geared for the whole family — and for egg rollers ages 3 to 10 — the Hayes Easter Egg Roll includes an egg-decorating contest with prizes awarded in four different age groups, the annual Parade of Eggs, face painting, story time, cornhole games and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Each child will receive a balloon, a pass to the Hayes home or museum, and special treats.

“Egg rolling is so much fun for everyone, to both compete and watch,” Kleinhenz said. “It involves a series of races to see who can roll an egg the quickest with a wooden spoon, or who can run the fastest while balancing an egg on a wooden spoon.”

For more information, call 800-998-PRES or visit