*Editor’s Note: 5:25 p.m. April 18 – This story has been edited throughout.
Hundreds from the SMU community celebrated the school’s iconic mascot at the annual PerunaPalooza on Dallas Hall Lawn on Friday.
The SMU Student Foundation organizes the event each year to celebrate Shetland pony Peruna’s birthday. This year, guests enjoyed a wide variety of food and entertainment at the free carnival-themed party, Amanda Huber, the campus events chair, said.
“We have a lot of inflatables and we have carnival performers like face painters, caricature artists, balloon artists, henna artists, and we also have free food,” Huber said.
Anna Bender, the Vice President of Programming for Student Foundation, has been involved with planning PerunaPalooza for three years.
“My favorite part of PerunaPalooza is watching it all come to life and everyone from the community coming together to just take a break on a Fridays and relax, have fun, enjoy some music, food and games,” Bender said.
Students Sarah Chase Dulske and Holt Garner went to enjoy the food and support their friends on Student Foundation.
“PerunaPalooza is one of the best events put on by SMU and is the reason why more students should want to come to a university such as this one,” Dulske said.
Many perspective students and their parents took advantage of the event after their tours as part of Destination SMU.
Not only was PerunaPalooza a fun event for SMU students, but it was an opportunity for Student Foundation to give back to the community by pairing with the Best Buddies program.
SMU Best Buddies offers fun opportunities to forge friendships with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“A lot of the SMU buddies brought their buddy, so I think we have about 30 or 40 kids from the program here,” Bender said.
Huber was relieved that all the pieces of the event came together.
“When you are planning a big event like this it feels very abstract, but then when all the students and everyone comes it’s just such a fun vibe,” Huber said. “It’s just a really nice break from the stressful day-to-day life of college.”