The cooler weather didn’t keep Orem residents away Monday from the Orem Fall Festival held on the lawns at Orem Community Hospital.

The festival gave out 2,000 pumpkins, had pony rides, numerous information and game booths, an inflatable slide and, of course, the famous Li’l Sebastian Shetland pony, whose name is inspired by the television show, “Parks and Recreation.”

The free event had more than 4,000 in attendance, and according to Orem resident Allison Garcia, “The weather was good, the carnival feel was really fun, it was really nice.”

In the past Orem Community Hospital has used the event to sponsor health awareness for the city, but this year, leaned toward emergency preparedness.

Laura Salazar, marketing and communications at Orem Community Hospital, said her team participated in emergency preparedness with FEMA earlier in the year. The takeaway was that Orem residents needed to be better prepared for natural disasters.

“We just have a heightened awareness of preparedness,” Salazar said. “We thought of fun ways and fun games to teach it. We hope it sparked the right thinking to have 72 hour kits at home.”

IHC gave out the free pumpkins and small first aid kits to every child that came through their booth.

“It’s all about emergency preparedness and how to respond in an emergency,” said Steven Downs, city spokesman. “It’s fun to see families connect with each other too.”

Downs also said the event was for neighbors to connect with first responders as well. Fire and police vehicles were on hand, as well as a Utah Transit Authority bus and the LifeFlight helicopter for children to look at while they talked to police officers and fire personnel.

Even the Senior Friendship Center got in on the party. According to Gena Bertlesen, center director, the center’s booth was helping retirees understand how to transition into retirement and stay active.

But when it comes to fun for many attending, there was nothing better than getting their photo with Li’l Sebastian. Li’l Sebastian is a lookalike of the famous Shetland pony from Pawnee, Indiana of the popular “Parks and Recreation.”

An engraved rock honoring the horse will likely be planted in the hospital’s community gardens on the east side of the emergency entrance, considering this is Li’l Sebastian’s final year at the fall festival.

“The community loves this stuff,” Downs said. “These are the types of things that say community.”

This is the third year for the event, which continues to grow in space and attendance. Orem and Intermountain Healthcare hope this yearly event continues and children will accompany their families to celebrate the start of fall.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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