AUSTIN, Texas — If you're looking for some "Old Austin" fun this weekend, look no further than this wonderfully weird gathering honoring everyone's favorite melancholy donkey.
First held in 1963, this is the iconic event's 57th year and Saturday's celebration will mark the first time it has been held since 2019. The party was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Always free to attend, Eeyore's Birthday Party functions as a fundraiser operated by the Friends of the Forest Foundation to benefit local nonprofits. All vendors participating at the party are nonprofit organizations, and organizers of the event also encourage volunteering.
Food and drink, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, will be available for purchase at the event, though attendees are also welcome to bring their own food. Attendees may not bring in any alcoholic beverages or glass bottles, and Styrofoam coolers are not allowed. There will be a free water station for filling empty water bottles.
PHOTOS: Eeyore's Birthday 2019
Pets are allowed, but organizers encourage attendees to leave them at home because "with the multitudes of attendees and activity, your pet may not enjoy the event as much as you do." Any pets who are brought to the event must be leashed.
This year's event will be held from 11 a.m. until dusk (approximately 8 p.m.). There is no parking available, so attendees are encouraged to use the free shuttle, Capital Metro buses or to walk or bike. There are also three designated rideshare drop-off locations. Learn more about transportation options.
In case of torrential rainfall, the party's rain date is Saturday, May 7.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party is one of Austin's longest-running celebrations of body paint, drum circles and outrageous costumes. In other words, “Austin.”
The festival of springtime and weirdness had modest beginnings in 1963, when a group of UT students celebrated spring break in Eastwood Park.
It was all maypoles, sandwiches and beer back then, by invitation only. One of those invitations went to former first lady Lady Bird Johnson and her daughter, Lynda, who showed up.
Lloyd Birdwell came up with the concept 59 years ago when he was a student, basing it on the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh, who became certain, what he thought, his friends had forgotten his birthday. Today, a sculpture stands at Eastwood Park with a plaque honoring Birdwell.
As the counterculture and hippie movement spread, things got a little more, well, relaxed. Do-it-yourself musicians popped up and so did the drums. Lots of drums.
Austinites Tom and Marci Purcell have brought their kids to the party since they were very young. The kids are in college now.
“The festival is just a really cool expression of what Austin used to be, and that Austin still is. It's just been really neat to have that as a constant fixture in our lives,” Marci Purcell said.
Britny Eubank on social media: Twitter
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: