(Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)
The White House put out the talent line-up and the roster of celebrity attendees for the 135th annual Easter Egg Roll to be held Monday. The announcement came Friday, the day President Obama talked about Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection in his Easter message.
Readers on the Storytime Stage will include NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson, Academy Award-nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis and Elmo, Abby, Gordon and Rosita from Sesame Street, the White House said of the Easter Egg Roll, which will be held on the South Lawn and draw more than 35,000 people.
"American Idol" alums Jordin Sparks and Jessica Sanchez will be singing along with Austin Mahone, Coco Jones, Sesame Street and The Wanted.
This year's theme is "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!" This will "help educate families on smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines, which are key pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative," the White House said earlier.
Friday's release also carried a roster of 38 professional athletes and coaches who will be participating in "Eggtivity Zone Obstacle Course," to help kids in the areas of sports and fitness.
Cooking for the attendees will be celebrity chefs Ina Garten, Spike Mendelsohn, B. Smith, Katie Chin, Flynn McGarry and Anne Burrell.
The "special guest" of the largest annual public event at the White House is Robby Novak, who is better known as Kid President. The program includes live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and Easter egg rolling.
The event has traditionally featured commemorative wooden eggs for the invitees as well as the general public to purchase until supplies last. It first became part of the tradition in 1981, when President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan hosted a hunt for keepsake eggs that bore the signatures of actors, actresses, famous politicians, and athletes.
The entire event will be broadcast live on the White House website.
While the Easter Egg Roll appears to be all about just activities, President Obama in his Easter message called the Holy Week "a time for renewed hope amidst continued challenges" and "to reflect on the momentous sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for each of us, and to celebrate the triumph of the resurrection and his gift of grace."
"As Christians, my family and I remember the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us – how He took on the sins of the world and extended the gift of salvation," Obama said in the address. "And we recommit ourselves to following His example here on Earth. To loving our Lord and Savior. To loving our neighbors. And to seeing in everyone, especially 'the least of these,' as a child of God."
Obama went on to say that "those values are at the heart not just of the Christian faith; but of all faiths. From Judaism to Islam; Hinduism to Sikhism; there echoes a powerful call to serve our brothers and sisters. To keep in our hearts a deep and abiding compassion for all. And to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves."