"The president doesn't get to practice probably as much as he'd like to," Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, later told reporters.
On a day that kids devote to bunny-shaped chocolates and jellybeans, first lady Michelle Obama was able to stress her mission of physical fitness and healthy eating habits.
"Eat your vegetables," she declared, after reading "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" to children in a story time area nestled under a tree. The couple's daughters, Malia and Sasha, shared reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
Mrs. Obama also joined chef Anne Burrell of the Food Network and TV anchor Al Roker at the Kids' Kitchen. The group sang, "put a little love in your food," as they prepared orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto. The first lady said the ear-shaped pasta with vegetables, Italian sausage and nuts was a grown-up, sophisticated alternative to spaghetti.
The South Lawn was transformed into a kaleidoscope of colors as boys and girls played games to the sounds of kids' show tunes, snacked on apples and got a chance to meet professional athletes and entertainers. The White House confirmed that among the thousands of families at the egg roll were some from Newtown, Conn., where a mass school shooting took place in December. They did not offer additional details, citing privacy reasons.
One highlight of this year's event was the "Eggtivity Zone," in which athletes and coaches helped teach kids how to play sports. Among the stars booked for this duty were Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, gymnast John Orozco and Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
The festivities came off despite earlier warnings from the White House that budget battles could have forced the event's cancellation. White House tours have been called off because of government-wide spending cuts.
The National Park Service, which organizes the event, says it's largely funded by sales of commemorative wooden eggs, plus some private donations. The park service would not say how much the event costs.