ADVERTISEMENT


Celebrating Eeyore
Young and old gather for traditional tribute to fictional character

By Victoria Rossi
  • Print
  • Email
  • Page 1 of 1
Brandon Hernandez walks a tightrope with the help of Destne Zieschang at Eeyore´s Birthday Party in Pease Park on Saturday afternoon. The event featured such activities as drum circles, egg toss competitions and other games for both children and adults.
Media Credit: Maisie Crow
Brandon Hernandez walks a tightrope with the help of Destne Zieschang at Eeyore´s Birthday Party in Pease Park on Saturday afternoon. The event featured such activities as drum circles, egg toss competitions and other games for both children and adults.

Partiers at Eeyore´s Birthday Party partake in a drum circle on Saturday afternoon in Pease Park. Hundred´s gathered at the park for a day of festivities.
Media Credit: Annie Snodgrass
Partiers at Eeyore´s Birthday Party partake in a drum circle on Saturday afternoon in Pease Park. Hundred´s gathered at the park for a day of festivities.

Eeyore´s crazy birthday party.
Media Credit: Annie Snodgrass
Eeyore´s crazy birthday party.


Diana Ravenvail sat in the shade with bongo drums and a small, stuffed Eeyore doll at her side. She grew up reading and watching Winnie the Pooh, and her 27-year-old daughter just finished decorating her newborn son's room with Winnie the Pooh characters.

"Pooh is the imaginary friend that everyone grew up with and loved," Ravenvail said. "Of all the Winnie the Pooh characters, Eeyore is the most depressed and the most in need of a good party."

Thousands of children, parents, college students and hippies camped out at Pease Park on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Eeyore's birthday for the 42nd time since the celebration began 1963.

"This is just a, 'Hooray it's spring! Let's get out here in the sun and take off all our clothes!' type of thing," said Ravenvail's husband, Joe, who played the drums and wore a black cowboy hat with a miniature Eeyore strapped on it.

With cloudy skies and temperatures reaching as low as 48 degrees, the morning started as a perfect match to Eeyore's dour disposition.

As the weather lifted, more and more people, some bare-chested with antlers in their hair, others decked out in glittering body paint, emerged from the surrounding trees and bushes. Hundreds gathered around a drum circle at the far end of the park to dance, play their drums or just listen to the music.

What is now a day-long event with long rows of food and ale stands, face painting and fake tattoo booths once featured honey sandwiches, a flower-wreathed donkey and a maypole. In 1963, UT English professor Lloyd Birdwell Jr. started the Winnie the Pooh-inspired picnic as a springtime party for his students before final exams.

Eeyore is a dreary, blue-gray plush donkey stuffed with sawdust. His tail always falls off and his house - known as Eeyore's "Gloomy Place" - often collapses. He hates being bounced, but likes thistles and burst balloons. And he loves it when people remember his birthday.

Eeyore's birthday party still has its maypole, but now there are costume contests and "the world's largest egg toss," according to event organizer Scott Sexton.

"It's definitely much more organized now," said Paul Jordan, who brought his two daughters to the festival he had attended as a kid. "There's a lot more stuff to do."

The Ravenvails also went to the event as teenagers. They moved to Dallas 20 years ago, but have been regular attendees since they returned to Austin in 2000.

"Back in the '70s we just came here to party and smoke dope and piss off the cops," Diana said. "Now we come here to see old friends."

It's been over 40 years, but the party's reputation for illicit drug use has stuck around, according to English junior Adam Avramescu, who attended the party for the first time this year.

"It's a big hippie fest - that's the impression I get," he said. "I think it's best known for its shrooms, actually."

Since the festival moved from Eastwoods to Pease Park in 1974, Friends of the Forest, a non-profit organization that distributes party proceeds to other Austin-area non-profits, has arranged the event. Sexton, who started volunteering with Friends of the Forest in 1992, said events like Eeyore's birthday party are what keep him living in Austin.

"There are people with master's degrees flipping burgers in this town because they like Austin," he said. "I'm very proud to be part of an event that helps Austin be the kind of town you want to live in."
Page 1 of 1

Article Tools

Blog This

Add Our RSS to:

Bookmark This

Advertisements

ADVERTISEMENTS



Austin Real Estate Hot New Trendy Jewelry Discount Shopping
Generate traffic! Advertise on dailytexanonline.com


Copyright (c) 2006 The Daily Texan and Texas Student Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Advertising Rates | Around Campus | Back Issues | Contact Us
Submit a Firing Line | Submit Around Campus | Buy Photos
Advertising Supplements | Super Coupons
Texas Student Publications