Let me begin by saying, some people are free spirits. Then there are people like me. Watching people "let loose" and "connect with nature" makes me uncomfortable -- especially when it involves partner yoga and hula-hoops.
That being said, I had a reasonably interesting experience at Eeyore’s Birthday Party this year at Pease Park. I met people. I learned things. I ran into a lovely young topless lady who had her torso painted silver. I took her photo, then when she asked what I was using it for, I was reluctant to admit that the image might accompany an unfavorable account. I told her anyway. Her response: "Yeah, most of these people deserve to be made fun of."
It hasn’t changed in a long time
I embarked on this journey with more than a few pre-conceived notions. White people dreadlocks, barefoot dancing, drums... horrible, horrible imagery flooded my mind. I did some cursory scanning of images from previous years. There was absolutely no difference between 2002 and 2014. Eeyore’s Birthday seemed to be an event that was stuck in time. The girls staring back at me from my screen with their yarn-like hair, bedazzled faces, and wire-rim glasses reminded me of the Hot Topic kids who loitered shopping malls in the late '90s.
Honey sandwiches used to be a thing
The first Eeyore’s Birthday was dreamed up by UT English major Lloyd Birdwell Jr. and his fellow students. It was based on Eeyore, the donkey from Winnie-the-Pooh. The gloomy donkey was once especially saddened because he thought his friends had forgotten his birthday. Lloyd Birdcall dressed as a magician and they had lemonade from a trash can, beer, honey sandwiches, and a live flower-draped donkey.
This year, the only people drinking out of trash cans were the actual hobos who seamlessly blended in with the crowd.
Eat a turkey leg for the greater good
The proceeds from Eeyore’s Birthday benefit local charities and non-profits. So, that meat club you purchased? It served a better purpose than that Instagram photo -- it planted a tree. Same with that beer you were drinking while you danced to rave music spun by a guy in a wizard costume. And the $15 parking. Good job, people!
Breasts are not that interesting
I think I had unrealistic expectations about the type of topless ladies I’d see. I pictured groups of young girls with golden hair and perky chests singing about peace and love. The reality is that that visual probably came from a Woodstock documentary because this place was crawling with taco t**s. I got that term from my S.O., but because he’s a modest man, he won’t describe to me exactly what T.T.s are so I will presume they are of the deflated variety.
The lethargy is alternately horrifying and impressive
There are two sections to this event. One is the open-air section with the families and food and drink vendors... but, when you traverse past the giant wall of porta-potties, you arrive at the land of lethargy. This is where everyone else is chilling. Chilling HARD. In a park, on a blanket, vaping, sleeping, sitting, sweating, and using porta-potties. Barefoot. All day. With a dog. It’s like the free side of Barton Springs but without water... and oddly, less hygienic.
Old people are definitely cooler than not-old people
The older, eccentric people who were attending for the 15th year in a row were the highlight of the day. They weren’t sleeping in the woods like a bunch of bums, they were representing the original essence of the event with elaborate hand-made costumes. They smiled and posed for photos. They shared stories about celebrations of yesteryear... and they shared special brownies.
Hula-hoop gangs and drum circles are alive and well
The hula-hooping girls shimmied, expressionless. The men drummed as sweat dripped down their brows and backs. What ancient spirit were these Manic Pixie Dream Girls and Shamanic Warriors conjuring? Well... the Gods of Body Odor, of course! Kombucha sweat is something to behold.
Beer is not a suitable replacement for water
There is a first aid tent run by generous volunteers dedicated to the needs of the guy who sweats out all his fluids unicycling and/or beating a five-gallon jug. Also, apparently... K2 is a helluva drug.
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