Rain scuttles WH Easter event

March 28, 2005 at 10:36 AM

WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- Monday's rain didn't dampen the spirits of hundreds of children at a shortened-version of the annual Easter Egg Roll and party on the White House South Lawn.

A steady drizzle turned into a downpour, leading to an early end -- just about 2-1/2 hours after the festivities began.

The rolling contests have been an annual event at the White House since 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened White House grounds to Washington's children for the egg roll after Congress banned them from Capitol Hill.

Kids in slickers and parents with umbrellas milled about, going from contests and games to book readings. Cartoon characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Leona from "Between the Lions" and The Berenstain Bears wandered the grounds.

Doubts the event would happen on schedule began during the weekend as rain approached the Washington area. By Monday morning, it turned from a steady drizzle into an unrelenting downpour.

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