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Michael Barnes

3 more potent parties that altered Austin

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Casandra Perks dances in a drum circle at Eeyore’s Birthday Party at Pease Park. April 30, 2011. Photos by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

Recently, we detailed 17 parties that altered Austin. The story and the video were hits. Still are.

Here we offer three affairs that didn’t make the first list — and probably should have.

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Courtesy of jimnicar.com.

March 27, 1925: Texas Relays. Coach Clyde Littlefield and athletic director Theo Bellmont founded the Texas Relays — now named after Littlefield — to compete with the Kansas Relays. It moved from vast Royal-Memorial Stadium to the 20,000-seat Myers Stadium in 1999. It’s always been something of a three-ring circus, with stunts, exhibitions and parties. In the past decades it’s become a national destination for African-American youths and much of downtown is given over to post-athletic celebrations. In 2006, the city’s Urban Music Festival was added to the festivities. The four-day track and field event is usually held in early April.

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Courtesy of DailyTexanOnline.com.

April 12, 1930: Longhorn Round-Up. Established by Ex-Students’ Association President Bill McGill, the annual event originally included alumni reunions, campus expos and open houses. These days, many as 15,000 people gather in West Campus as UT fraternal groups stage concerts and host parties. For a long time, too, they paraded in elaborate floats down the Drag. Controversy hit the event in the 1980s when people of color and LGBT students were mocked and harassed, and, after that, Texas Exes abandoned its sponsorship. These days, part of the proceeds go to philanthropic causes. The decade previous to the first Round-Up was pretty wild around campus, too, according to Richard Zelade’s racy book “Austin in the Jazz Age.”

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Eeyore’s Birthday in its 52rd year at Pease Park. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

May 8, 1964: Eeyore’s Birthday Party. The first spring party for UT students — started by in part by Lloyd W. Birdwell, Jr., James Ayres and Jean Craver — took place in Eastwoods Park. It moved to Pease Park along Shoal Creek, grew into a daylong fandango, and was adopted by the city’s hippies and post-hippies. It remains a countercultural wonder, with costumes, snacks, contests, face-painting, and, especially, drum circles. When locals profess to “Keep Austin Weird,” images of Eeyore’s past probably pop into their heads. So far, I have not been able to determine the exact date for that first event. Will update when I find out. Note: Just about every online source puts the first party in 1963, but this flyer, suggests the 1964 date, supported by Howie Richey and Les Carnes. But could this be for the second year?

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UPDATE: The Eeyore’s flyer and a new date for the first party were added after the first post.