Germansville family waits years for egg roll
Loribeth Knauss learned about the National Egg Roll held each year at the White House in Washington, D.C., when it was mentioned on a television talk show.
Knauss of Germansville, found the application information by Googling egg roll.
Those accepted to attend are chosen by lot. The fourth time around was the magic one for the Knauss family when Knauss learned she, husband Troy, and children Kaylynn, 5, and Clara, 4, were lottery winners.
The 30,000 winners were sent tickets.
There are five groups with each being on the South Lawn of the White House for two hours. The Knauss family was in group C, scheduled to enter at 12:15 p.m.
There were 50,000 applications and 30,000 winners.
Counting children, there were 200,000 tickets given out for this year’s 140th anniversary of the Egg Roll, begun by President Rutherford Hayes in 1878.
Knauss had been warned to arrive an hour early.
They were an hour and 15 minutes early and already there were 300 people in line ahead of them.
Luckily, they only had to wait three minutes but families continued to arrive after them.
Knauss said there was a variety of security including horses, K-9s, the Secret Service, and marksmen with rifles stationed on rooftops, so she did not take any large bags, even leaving her purse behind.
They had been told some specific things that could not be carried onto the grounds. Baby strollers were the exception.
They spent an hour trying to find parking space and finally parked at the Capital Hill Hilton valet parking, which is where they were staying for the night.
The annual cherry blossom festival contributed to the parking problems because it was held the same day.
The adults were excited about meeting Dr. Ben Carson but for the girls it was the characters: Elmo, Cat in the Hat and many others.
PBS provided many of the characters, with the cast changing during the two hours.
Of course many pictures were taken – so many photo opportunities, said Loribeth. There were a number of Easter Bunnies to meet and greet the children.
Knauss said there was so much to see and do that the family never got around to everything.
The actual egg roll was done with a wooden spoon.
The girls put frosting on a cookie and had hard boiled eggs on a stick with condiments to enhance the eggs.
There was no food sold on the lawn, but the Mall, with vendors on both ends, had many offerings.
The American Egg Board contributed the eggs along with many handouts. Each child received a commemorative wooden egg with the signatures of President Donald and First Lady Melania Trump on the back. Bands from each of the military units played. An egg-costumed rock band walked around instead of playing on the stage.
There were 5-foot eggs which made for great pictures, Knauss said.
Troy Knauss said government officials read books to the children.
“There were lots of volunteers and all were helpful and friendly,” Loribeth Knauss said.
On the President’s Park South, known as the Ellipse, eggs designed by students from each state were displayed.
“There was a lot going on. It was like Disney World,” said Loribeth Knauss. “You wait in line for everything.”
The day of the trip was beautiful but cold.
“It was very family oriented,” Troy Knauss said. “There were a lot of young families but I only saw one grandmother.”
Dinner was at the Old Ebbitt Grill, the oldest restaurant in the city.
Loribeth Knauss said the Old Ebbitt Grill was an interesting building with various paintings and photographs on the walls. The restrooms were located down a spiral staircase.
The family was told there would be an hour and a half wait so they decided that was too long for the girls to wait.
But someone canceled unexpectedly and the hostess seated them immediately.