Eeyore’s Birthday Party
Eeyore’s Birthday Party has been a traditional springtime event in Austin since the early 1960s, and it’s evolved into a major fund raiser benefiting Austin nonprofit groups.
The freak flags are always flying at this annual celebration of spring, dedicated to A. A. Milne’s despondent donkey. Austinites partake in their natural hippie atmosphere by wearing colorful costumes (often nothing but body paint), joining the continuous drum circle, dancing to noodly jam bands, and wandering aimlessly among vendors hawking herbs, tofu, natural sodas, and Texas beer.
Artists provide face painting and temporary tattoos, musicians (playing nonamplified instruments) are invited to play, Maypoles are set up, and there’s even a forlorn donkey named Eeyore on hand, so everyone can drop by and wish the hapless creature a happy birthday.
The party itself began in 1963 as a spring fling for students attending a fun-loving English professor’s class at the University of Texas. The original event featured a trashcan full of lemonade, honey sandwiches, and a real flower-draped donkey. Its immense success prompted people to continue the tradition in subsequent years.
The event, typically held the last Saturday in April at the centrally located Pease Park, runs from late morning until dusk. Attendance is free, and shuttle buses transport attendees from downtown garages since parking has become a major issue for the thousands of partygoers.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition