After some initial confusion in February and some scrambling in March, President Trump’s White House hosted its first Easter Egg Roll on Monday, continuing a tradition dating to as early as 1872, when Washington children gathered on the grounds of the Capitol for the ovoid festivities.
Welcoming guests to the White House South Lawn, Trump appeared with first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron.
“We’re going to come out and join you, enjoy your company for a roll, a great Easter Egg Roll. I don’t know if we’re going to be successful, but I know a lot of people, they’re going to be successful. I’ve seen those kids, and they’re highly, highly competitive,” Trump said.
The Easter Egg Roll has ballooned into the largest White House event of the year, with tens of thousands of guests attending annually, but a New York Times report last week cast some doubt on whether the upstart administration was up to the task.
Wells Wood Turning & Finishing, the Buckfield, Maine-based company that provides the wooden eggs for the event, was forced to publicly remind the White House in February to reach out to beat the ordering deadlines.
In a Friday interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, Chris Chandler, the president of Wells, noted the “multifaceted” approach to planning the White House Easter Egg Roll. He said the tweet was an attempt to “contact anybody and everybody who was involved” with the event.
— Wells Wood Turning (@WellsTurning) February 20, 2017
The small company, in addition to manufacturing items ranging from rolling pins to furniture parts, has supplied commemorative eggs to the George H.W. Bush Library, various museums, governors’ offices and the Veterans Administration, in addition to the White House – its “most prominent” customer.
Chandler insisted that the comparatively late notice from the White House was not a challenge for his “highly skilled, hardworking” team, which hopped right on the assignment.
And with potentially Trumpian flair, a higher percentage of the eggs are golden than in years past. Chandler could not confirm that the request for gold eggs came directly from the commander in chief, a noted enthusiast of all things gilded.
According to the event’s website, the White House is set to host 21,000 guests Monday for the daylong event, a sharp decrease from the 37,000 who attended last year. The White House ordered fewer than half the previous number of eggs for the occasion. Still, Chandler admitted it was one of the small company’s most prized assignments.
“We really appreciate the opportunity to make something of this prominence for the children of America at the premiere national park of our country, which is the White House,” Chandler said.
“It definitely has a kind of elevated levity to it.”