For 55 years, this community event has drawn droves of revelers from every walk of life. You’ll see folks dancing around the maypole while others partake in the deep beats of a drum circle. Others participate in the annual costume contest while some are simply content to sit in the shade and enjoy a beer.
The best part is, this event is completely free and anything you purchase while you’re there is donated to local non-profits.
“It’s pretty much what I remember from college, but maybe a little bigger,” Steven Beck, a 30-year Austin resident tells Culture Trip.
A History of the Party
In 1963, English student Lloyd W. Birdwell Jr. organized a spring party for Eeyore on a Friday afternoon. Attendees were invited with handwritten invitations and a map with directions scrawled on it. Originally, the festivities included a picnic with lemonade, beer, honey sandwiches, a flower-draped donkey, and a maypole. Unsurprisingly, the calm springtime fest drew the attention of Austin’s hippie community and the annual University of Texas (UT) tradition grew out of its original space at Eastwoods Park. It moved to Pease Park in 1974.
Attending Today’s Festival
Every year, Eeyore’s birthday is celebrated on the last Saturday of April, starting at 11 a.m. The party continues until dusk (although locals know that the after party continues well after the sun sets). Prepare yourself for old Austin to meet new Austin as you wander through the grounds to dance around the maypole and congratulate Eeyore on getting another year older. Yes, there is a live donkey who makes an appearance.
“It’s wonderfully decadent,” Baptiste Despois, a French Transplant, says. “It’ everything I imagine Austin is.”
This family-friendly event is full of face painting and live music. Remember though, for 55 years, attendees have been encouraged to dress up. To up the ante, there are prizes for those who want to show off their elaborate disguises. On the other end of the spectrum, some people forego (most) clothing.
The earlier in the day you go, the more family-friendly the event is.
Although the park is in the middle of the city, here’s a word to the wise: Ride your bike or take public transportation. You’ll have a hard time getting to the park otherwise!