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Santa Ana Zoo's 2016 Zoofari Celebrates Successful Fundraiser
"Year of the Monkey" Theme Marks 24th Year for Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ)

The Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ), a non-profit organization, hosted the 24th annual Zoofari fundraising black-tie gala on August 27, 2016 for almost 300 guests with a theme "Year of the Monkey". Zoofari takes place at one of the most inspiring venues in Orange County, outside and under the stars on the grounds of the Santa Ana Zoo.

Valet parking service was underwritten by Tudor House Productions; guests enjoyed a first-class dining experience catered by Parties by Panache with a hosted bar including a special drink the "Rickshaw Ricky" in honor of longtime supporter of the Santa Ana Zoo Richard Bye who passed away early this year - the special drink was made with Tito's Handmade vodka, Lychee syrup and Cranberry juice. Decorations were provided by R.W.B. Party Rentals which celebrated the Asian "Year of the Monkey" theme with gold, black and vibrant red throughout event site.

"For more than 20 years, Zoofari has played an integral role in raising the funds needed for all the special projects and improvements going on here at our favorite community Zoo including educational programs, breaking ground on new animal habitats, tackling important conservation initiatives, introducing new rides and upgrading service facilities for our guests to use and enjoy," says Cathi Decker, event host and Executive Director of FOSAZ.

Guests began the night being greeted by various animals and their docent "handlers". An Armadillo, Blue Tongue Skink, Spectacled Owl and a French Rooster were just some of the animals that welcomed everyone as they entered the Santa Ana Zoo. Guests were also privy to tour the Zoo grounds and see the area where the new Giant River Otters will be housed and of course the 50 monkeys the Santa Ana Zoo is famous for.

Former KTLA sports anchor Ed Arnold and co-owner of South Coast Plaza Sandy Segerstrom Daniels were the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening with brother and sister duo Glen Fladeboe and Kristine Fladeboe Duininck as auctioneers for the live auction.

Honorees this year were FOSAZ Board Members Howard and Karin Hall who have been instrumental to the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo since 1992. They have put together Eagle Scout projects that have changed the face of the Zoo, participated on the Board in many activities and during special events and helped bring our largest revenue generators to the Zoo in the form of the rides. The event raised over $160,000 which included $29,000 from the live auction where funds will be going towards the Pygmy Marmoset exhibit as during the program, it was announced the exhibit needed refurbishing as these "finger monkeys" are difficult to see by Zoo guests. Now construction will be underway for a "2-way" mirror so guests can see them better and make life more comfortable for the monkeys.

The Year of the Monkey "Good Fortune" live auction items up for grabs were an Apple iPad Pro with an iPad Pro Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil donated by FOSAZ Board Member and the evening's honoree Howard Hall; a 4th of July party for 12 with all the trimmings by Parties by Panache; eight days in beautiful Cabo San Lucas at the Villa del Palmar with a gift card for $800 for airfare donated by FOSAZ Board Member Curtis Farrell; a powder blue Michael Kors Harper Tote (donated by FOSAZ Board Member Patty McClendon) stuffed with 100 California Scratchers (donated by Board Member Rip Ribble) and close to $1,000 in cash donated by the FOSAZ Board, Advisory Board Members and FOSAZ staff; McClendon also donated her Cathedral City condo for 8 days which included a Westin Mission Hills Golf package; four private tours of the Santa Ana Zoo with Zoo Director Kent Yamaguchi (which includes lunch) were sold and the largest and most sought after item was the 30 minute flight for 2 in the Goodyear Blimp as this is one of the final flights it will be taking. Jane Olin, FOSAZ Board Member and Tim Jerkovich were the lucky winners of the Blimp flight!

After the program, guests danced until midnight to the dynamic tunes of NeOn NaTiOn.

Zoofari is chaired by Cathi Decker and sponsored by FOSAZ, a non-profit organization which has helped support and improve the Santa Ana Zoo for over 44 years.

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