Since 1963, Austinites have been celebrating Eeyore’s Birthday Party on the last Saturday in April. This event started with the English Department at the University of Texas, but has now expanded into a popular all-day festival. The free party is sponsored by non-profit Friends of the Forest Foundation, which donates the proceeds from food, T-shirts, and other sales to local charities.
Around mid-day on Saturday, Bill and I hopped on a shuttle bus which delivered us to the entrance of Pease Park, just west of campus on North Lamar. The park was comfortably crowded when we arrived. A band was playing at the stage on the hillside, with a lone guy wandering around aimlessly in circles in front of the stage…dancing to a different drummer, perhaps.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party has never really lost its ’60s roots. Genuine and wanna-be hippies were everywhere. Costumes were very popular. We saw a Tigger character, but didn’t see anyone dressed as Eeyore. Perhaps that was the name of the donkey at the children’s petting zoo?
Eeyore’s Birthday Party has several longtime traditions. May poles are always erected since the party is right before May Day. I’ve read that the drum circles can grow to hundreds of drummers towards the end of the day.
Unicycle football is one of the newer traditions. Riding on one wheel while simultaneously passing, tackling, and kicking takes good balance and coordination. The game was fun to watch, but a little dangerous for both the players and the spectators standing on the sidelines.