The original event featured a trashcan full of lemonade, beer, honey sandwiches, a live, flower-draped donkey, and a may pole (in keeping with the event's proximity to May Day). For many years the party was a UT tradition, but subsequently the annual Birthday Party became a tradition in Austin's hippie subculture. It now boasts an annual attendance in the thousands. ( Thanks, Wikipedia)
We attended this event the first year we were in Austin. With our tiny infant strapped on, we were in awe of this peaceful gathering. Tons of happy people, live music, little hippie kids running around in fairy wings, live music, delicious food, and huge drum circles. Some pics of Ruby enjoying the fun...
There is the occasional run-in with the topless person. . .it is legal in Austin, after all. . . but during the daylight hours (I've heard it gets INSANE after hours), this event is kid-friendly and FUN.
Ruby blissed out after a cupcake and face-painting...
Yes, it's a big hippie fest, and yes if you wander off into the woods you will probably disappear into a cloud of pot smoke, but what's so appealing to me is the sheer volume of happy people, flying their freak flag, and expecting nothing more than for you to have a good time. You will not hear a rude word uttered. No one is offended by anything you are doing. . . your kid isn't bothering anyone, and best of all, you aren't expected to buy stuff. This isn't a shopping event like so many summer festivals. It is simply a big group of people who want to get together and celebrate.
After parking in a free parking garage, a friendly bus comes along and drops you off at the park and then takes you back when you're done. For a two mile radius approaching the park, there are throngs of smiling tie-dyed people, strollers, and party-goers decked out in their May Day finest. All in all...a fantastic event.
Here's Ruby joining the drum circle.