In commemoration, Eastwoods Park features a charming donkey sculpture by local artist Bob Coffee.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party began in 1963 at Eastwoods Park as a spring party and picnic for Department of English students at the University of Texas at Austin. It was named for Eeyore, a chronically depressed donkey in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories who, in one story, believes his friends have forgotten his birthday only to discover they have planned a surprise party for him.
When the festival moved from Eastwoods Park 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.
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 circles which can sometimes contain hundreds of drummers and dancers in the large areas of the park not occupied by other events. Members of the Deaf community like the drum circles because they can feel the vibrations.
I had been attending Eeyore’s Birthday parties in the past. The crowd is growing bigger every year. Music, hippies, children, everywhere, even with women with painted boobs, pregnant bellies, men with thongs, dogs and cats.
I took those photos during the Eeyore’s birthday party at Pease Park in April 2014. I plan to go back this year and enjoy the event again!