FREMONT — Trey Masterson gave it a good try, but found that competitive Easter egg carrying is no easy thing.
The 8-year-old from Tiffin moved swiftly from the crowded starting line and seemed to have an easy lead as he carried his colored egg on a wooden spoon at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center here. Alas, he finished second.
No matter. Trey still had a good time.
“It was fun,” he said after the race on the lawn of the presidential mansion.
And so it went once again on Saturday, as the Hayes Center celebrated the memory of the 19th U.S. president with its annual Easter egg roll, a tradition it began in 1986.
It was President Hayes who, in 1878, started the annual White House Easter egg event that will be held there Monday.
The annual gathering of children from across the country is the largest single event held at the White House, according to the White House Web site.
At the Hayes Center, close to 300 children ages 3 to 10 competed in a variety of egg-rolling contests. Also available were face painting and story telling.
Prizes were awarded in four age categories, and all children were given balloons and free admission to tour the Hayes Home or Hayes Museum. The admission price was modest: three hard-boiled, colored eggs.
Joan Eckermann, special-events and volunteer coordinator at the Hayes Center, said the whole idea was to keep the memory of President Hayes alive. The Republican served from 1877 to 1880.
“The Easter egg roll all started with President Hayes,” she explained.
“The eggs were rolled down Capitol Hill, until Congress complained about the pieces of shells and eggs left behind and ended it.”
Trey’s family has an interest in history that dovetails nicely with the Easter egg roll.
His mother, Amy, teaches history at Fostoria High School and collects presidential plates and campaign posters.
His father, Tom, said he enjoys taking the family on visits to other presidential centers.
Mrs. Masterson said she hoped the fun time at the Hayes Center helped to imbue a sense of history in Trey. “It’s a nice tradition,” she said.
Tracy Stephens of Sandusky, who brought Kar’lee Edwards, 9, and Isaiah Martinez, 8, to the Easter Egg roll, said she too liked the air of history hanging over the event.
“We’ll be back next year,” she said.