- Eeyore's Birthday Party
Eeyore's Birthday Party is a day-long
festivaltaking place annually in Austin, Texassince 1963. It typically occurs on the last Saturday of April in Austin's Pease Park.Sexton, Scott. [http://eeyores.sexton.com/ Eeyore's Birthday Party] . Retrieved March 4, 2006.] It includes live music, food and drink vending which benefit local non-profit organizations, attendees in colorful costumes, and very large drum circles. Although frequented by children and families, with specific events presented for them by the event organizers, Eeyore's Birthday Party is also known for its high incidence of recreational drug use. The festival is named in honor of Eeyore, a character in A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Poohstories.Rossi, Victoria. " [http://www.dailytexanonline.com/media/paper410/news/2005/05/02/TopStories/Celebrating.Eeyore-945511.shtml Celebrating Eeyore: Young and old gather for traditional tribute to fictional character] ". ( May 2, 2005). " The Daily Texan". Retrieved January 18, 2006.]
Eeyore's Birthday Party began in 1963 as a spring party and picnic for students of
University of Texas at AustinEnglish professor Lloyd W. Birdwell, Jr. It was named for Eeyore, a frequently depressed donkeyin A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Poohstories who, in one story, believes his friends have forgotten his birthdayonly to discover they have planned a surprise party for him.Milne, A. A.. " Winnie-the-Pooh" (1926). New York: DuttonJuvenile Press. ISBN 0-525-44443-2.] Despite its name, the event does not fall on the official birthday of the fictional character.Topher. [http://www.lavasurfer.com/pooh-faq7.html Winnie-the-Pooh FAQ] . Retrieved January 18, 2006.] The original event featured a trashcan full of lemonade, honey sandwiches, a live, flower-draped donkey, and a may pole(in keeping with the event's proximity to May Day).Ramirez, Elena. [http://www.klru.org/austinnow/archives/eeyores/eeyores.asp Eeyore's Birthday] . "Austin Now". Retrieved January 18, 2006.] After this initial picnic, the annual Birthday Party became a tradition in Austin's hippie subculture.
When the festival moved to Pease Park in 1974, Austin-area non-profit
Friends of the Forest, an organization which distributes funds to other area charities, began arranging for food and drink vendors at the festival. They continue this task today along with arranging public services (toilets, buses, security, medics) and scheduling live music and family-oriented games and contests. The event is still known to most as a festival oriented towards modern hippies. It now boasts an annual attendance in the thousands.
What started as a small picnic for University of Texas at Austin students has today swelled to a major annual festival with live bands, charity vendors of food, drink and local beers, as well as family-oriented games and contests such as
sack races, costumecontests, and an egg toss. Attendance at the Birthday Party is free. Weather-permitting, it occurs on the last Saturday in April in Pease Park; a rain date is usually scheduled for the following weekend. Bright and diverse costumes are common. In keeping with the original traditions of the event, a live donkey and a may pole are always present. The event begins in the late morning and continues until dusk. Although technically no bottles, cans, or coolers are allowed from outside the park many attendees bring in their own food and drink anyway. Due to the lack of parking in the area and the high attendance, The Friends of the Forest Foundation procures shuttle buses between Austin's downtown area and Pease Park.
Eeyore's Birthday Party is attended by people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages, some of whom may have been attending for decades. Austin's hippie community still puts in a major appearance at the event, which they celebrate by forming large
drum circleswhich can sometimes contain hundreds of drummers and dancers in the large areas of the park not occupied by other events. A statue known by some attendees as "The Eeyore of Liberty", which mixes the fictional donkey with The Statue of Liberty, often appears near the largest drum circle.
* [http://eeyores.org/ Friends of the Forest] homepage with annual dates for the event and transportation information
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