On Monday, thousands of kids from around the country are participating in an annual Spring tradition – The White House Easter Egg Roll. The White House said it expects more than 35,000 visitors to the White House lawn for a day of festivities. Unfortunately, none of these visitors will be able to tour inside the White House. Obama cancelled public tours, citing automatic sequester cuts. Fortunately, however, the annual Egg Roll isn’t organized by the White House, so the tradition continues for its 135th year.
The Egg Roll is organized by the National Park Service. While it won’t release the specific cost, the Service says it is largely paid for by the sale of commemorative wooden eggs and private donations. Of course, there are considerable security costs to protect the grounds and the First Family during the event. Canceling the largely privately-funded event because of these costs would have been churlish.
In addition to egg rolling, visitors can participate in story readings and fitness sessions with professional athletes. They just have to remember to stay on the lawn.
Maybe there is a precedent here, however. Perhaps the Park Service can take over the White House tours. Obama’s canceling of the public, self-guided tours only trimmed spending by around $2 million. It can’t take that many “commemorate wooden eggs” to reopen “The Peoples’ House.”