Iowa’s First Lady held her annual “Spring Fling” at the Governor’s mansion to promote literacy on Sunday, and once again her husband — the Governor — donned a costume.

Governor Tom Vilsack has dressed up as literary characters like Winnie the Pooh for “Spring Flings” in the past. Yesterday, he dressed as “Old King Cole” since this year’s theme was Mother Goose rhymes. Mrs. Vilsack says “Old King Cole” was the “least weird costume” they could think of, plus it was their sons’ favorite nursery rhyme. Mrs. Vilsack says they had a recording of the rhyme, and as a family they used to march around the house with tambourines and cymbals, singing it together.

The Governor jokingly told his wife they didn’t have to reveal all their family secrets. Vilsack did reveal that he liked this year’s costume “much better, much better, much, much, much better” than the Winnie the Pooh get-up. The Governor described the “Old King Cole” costume as “regal.”Vilsack says “it starts with the tights, which was an experience, then there’s the sort of the dress that Old King Cole would have worn and then a very wintery type jacket, with instead of a crown, it’s sort of the regal kind of hat.”

Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson asked Vilsack if he’d wear an Easter Bunny costume to the White House Egg Roll if he winds up as democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s running mate and ends up becoming vice president. His reply: “There’s a smart aleck in every crowd, isn’t there?” First Lady Christie Vilsack was dressed as Mother Goose. Mrs. Vilsack says Old Mother Goose was the star of the show, which was an opportunity to showcase nursery rhymes that she says are the basis of our literature. Mrs. Vilsack recruited volunteers and most of the folks on the governor’s staff to dress up as nursery rhyme characters like The Three Blind Mice. Steve Falck, the governor’s liaison with the House of Representatives, was dressed in a white smock and chef’s hat. Falck was “The Muffin Man” and carried around a basket of muffins, offering the treats to kids and parents who came to Sunday’s event on the Terrace Hill lawn. John Peterson, the governor’s liaison with the Iowa Senate, was dressed as Jack be Nimble, and he carried around a candlestick, but refused to jump over it.