What would Eeyore think?

“I’m just telling everybody. We can look for the North Pole, or we can play ‘Here we go gathering Nuts in May’ with the end part of an ants’ nest. It’s all the same to me.”

Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Eeyore was not much of a party boy, but that has not deterred celebrants in Austin for the past 48 years. Most years, Eeyore’s Birthday Party conflicts with King William Fair, so, despite hearing about it forever, we had never been. This year, however, five Saturdays in April comfortably separated the two on the calendar.

With Austin friends as our guides, we found our way to Pease Park and began wandering around. An “Eeyore of Liberty” with a bubble-blowing honor guard greets attendees. What we found in the way of organized activities was a costume contest, an egg toss and a tiny children’s area containing one appropriately gloomy in the Eeyore tradition burro representing the birthday boy. Freestyle hula-hooping, drumming and pot-smoking comprised the rest of the entertainment, which means the focus is on the people.

The people-watching was great, with costumes resembling the Haight Ashbury look of 1968. But, like us, the vast majority of the party-goers were party-poopers – no costumes and fully clothed – falling into the voyeur category.

Not sure what the Austin undress-code is as defined by law, but it appears looser than San Antonio’s, or more loosely enforced. The topless and near-nude emerged from Hippy Hollow to invade the park. But hey, Eeyore only wore a hat for his birthday.

Austin police must have the same attitude as that adopted by New Orleans police on the episode of Treme last night: “Let Bourbon Street be Bourbon Street.” Regard revelers as only “momentarily underdressed.” Think Austin police also are instructed to ignore any whiff of “eau de maryjane.”

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 What would Eeyore think?

“Everybody crowds round so in this Forest. There’s no Space. I never saw a more Spreading lot of animals in my life, and in all the wrong places.”

Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

I say, “Keep Austin Weird” and “Keep San Antonio Lame.” Happy to have celebrated Eeyore’s Birthday this year, but will be more than content to be locked in the middle of the King William Fair next year. It’s one of this city’s “quills” I love.

Update on August 21, 2014: Bed time story actually read by A.A. Milne courtesy of Brain Pickings

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