Social Events at the White House
The President and Mrs. Laura Bush Hosted More Than 1,500 Official White House Social Events
The President and Mrs. Bush have been honored to serve as host and hostess of a variety of events at the White House, ranging from private gatherings in the Residence to state dinners for world leaders.
Entertaining At The White House
Welcoming His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the White House on April 16, 2008 was one of the First Couple's most significant and cherished events. His Holiness celebrated his 81st birthday during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn and was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" by over 13,000 guests, the largest crowd on record at the White House. It was the first papal visit to the White House in three decades. Following the welcoming ceremony, the President hosted a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in the Oval Office.
The President and Mrs. Bush hosted six State Visits at the White House, which included an arrival ceremony and a State Dinner. The South Lawn arrival ceremonies began with the President and Mrs. Bush greeting the Head of State, followed by the playing of the national anthems of both countries. Both the President and his honored guest delivered remarks. That evening, the President and Mrs. Bush hosted a dinner in the State Dining Room.
The President and Mrs. Bush hosted five Official Visits honoring Heads of Government at the White House. These visits followed similar protocol as State Visits.
The President and Mrs. Bush have hosted more than 100 Social Dinners at the White House. These were typically formal dinners with entertainment highlighting American musical talent.
The President and Mrs. Bush have hosted hundreds of working breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. These most often included Heads of State, and while they were usually held at the White House in the Old Family Dining Room, many have occurred at Camp David, the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas, and the home of President George H.W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine. This form of both entertaining and conducting business reflected the President's style of leadership and relationship-building.
The President and Mrs. Bush were honored to welcome tens of thousands of service members and their families to the Nation's Home. From large events, such as breakfast with the President on the South Lawn for 1,500 military spouses, to private meetings between the Commander in Chief and wounded warriors in the Oval Office, the Bush Family has always considered members of the military community special household guests. For many years, the President and Mrs. Bush held a Children's Holiday Reception and Performance in the East Room for military children and families.
Mrs. Bush has hosted more than 70 spouses of Heads of State. Most visits occurred in the Residence, in the Yellow Oval Room. These gatherings gave Mrs. Bush an opportunity to become personally acquainted with other leaders' spouses and learn about the issues of importance to them and their countries.
Cultural Events At The White House
The President and Mrs. Bush took pleasure in hosting dinners, receptions, and events at the White House celebrating cultural heritage. Typically, there was a program in the East Room followed by a buffet reception in the State Dining Room.
The President and Mrs. Bush invited leading historians and other experts in their fields to the White House to honor prominent individuals.
The President and Mrs. Bush celebrated cultural diversity in the United States by hosting annual festivities.
The President and Mrs. Bush highlighted the achievements of many groups and individuals by hosting ceremonies and receptions in their honor.
Casual Entertaining At The White House
The President and Mrs. Bush were the first to invite children to play organized Tee Ball on the South Lawn. A total of 20 games, two or three each summer, were played during this Administration. Youngsters from around the country were selected by Little League to play in these games, all of which President Bush attended. Several of the teams were composed of children with a parent on active-duty in the military.
The President and Mrs. Bush enjoy hosting guests for movie screenings in the Family Theatre. The audiences have included members of the Administration and Congress, military families, producers, directors, writers, and actors affiliated with the movies, as well as family and friends. Popcorn and sodas are served in the theatre that accommodates 46 movie-goers.
The Annual Congressional Picnic is a tradition for legislators and their families. The President and Mrs. Bush welcome guests to the South Lawn for a casual meal and introduce the entertainment for the evening. The picnic was not held in 2001 as it was scheduled for September 11th.
Music At The White House
Theatrical entertainment plays a large part in the success and enjoyment of a White House event. The President and Mrs. Bush invited dynamic and talented artists to perform for a wide array of events, from state dinners to intimate luncheons. Such world-class entertainers to delight White House guests include:
There were numerous other celebrations at the White House, such as the annual Easter Egg Roll and Holiday Open Houses, where the President and Mrs. Bush invited the public to participate.
For more information about Social Events at the White House, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/firstlady/arts.html