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Santa Ana Zoo's 2017 Zoofari Celebrates Silver Anniversary
The Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ) raises half a million-net cash every year for the Santa Ana Zoo

Everything was glittering silver at the 25th annual Zoofari fundraising black-tie gala held on August 27, 2017 held by the Friends of Santa Ana Zoo. Over 300 guests attended the black-tie, silver anniversary as Zoofari takes place at one of the most exotic venues in Orange County, outside and under the stars on the grounds of the Santa Ana Zoo.

Guests enjoyed a first-class dining experience catered by Parties by Panache with a hosted bar including a special drink, the "Satin Sparkle" - which was of course a celebratory glass of Champagne with a rim of silver sparkled sugar. Decorations were provided by R.W.B. Party Rentals which put a special "bling" in the air with colors of silver, black, white and lavender. Elegance was everywhere on the grounds of the Santa Ana Zoo with beautiful statues, pillars and furniture that created a sophisticated flair to celebrate the historic year.

"We are very excited to be celebrating 25 years, Zoofari has grown from a dedicated group of Zoo supporters who gathered to enjoy a festive evening to celebrate all that the Santa Ana Zoo has to offer," said Cathi Decker, event host and Executive Director of FOSAZ. "Through the years, we've experienced fantastic themes, delicious food, creative drinks and have engaged many wonderful supporters who have donated their time, money and talents - it means so much especially raising the funds needed for all the special projects and improvements going on here."

Guests began the night being greeted by various animals and their docent "handlers." An Armadillo, Spectacled Owl and a French Rooster were just some of the wildlife 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 habitat is being created, the construction of the Fifty Monkey Ferris Wheel and of course the 50 monkeys the Santa Ana Zoo is famous for.

Commander Chuck Street, a long-time airborne traffic reporter for KISS-FM radio and former Executive Director of the Santa Ana's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Agency and current FOSAZ Board Member Rip Ribble were the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening with Glen Fladeboe coming back as auctioneer for the live auction.

Honorees this year were Peggy Baldwin-Butler of the Tudor House Entertainment and James Howe of Bert L. Howe & Associates, Inc. Baldwin-Butler has been a longtime supporter and underwriter for Zoofari and the Santa Ana Zoo while Howe is an instrumental underwriter for the upcoming Fifty Monkey Ferris Wheel set to be unveiled at the end of this year.

The event netted close to $100,000 which included almost $52,000 from the silent and live auction where funds will be going towards the Giant River Otter exhibit and upgrades to the Santa Ana Zoo.

Silver Anniversary live auction items up for grabs were an Apple 10.5 inch iPadPro and Apple Pencil donated by FOSAZ Board Member Howard Hall; an eight day vacation house in Cathedral City with a private tour for six at the Living Desert donated by FOSAZ Board Member Patty McClendon; Parties by Panache donated a decadent dinner with wine pairings and all the trimmings for a luxury dinner in the winner's home; FOSAZ Board Member Curtis Farrell donated an eight day vacation in Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas Beach Resort & Spa including an $800 'get you there' VISA gift card; a Karl Lagerfeld, Paris Floral White Tote Bag donated by FOSAZ Board Member Patty McClendon along with 100 California scratchers (donated by FOSAZ Board Member Rip Ribble) and over $700 in cash donated by FOSAZ Board, Advisory Board Members and Zoo Staff; and a private tour with the Zoo Director of the Santa Ana Zoo with rare behind the scenes with the animals along with a sit-down lunch.

After the program, the dance floor was packed with guests dancing to the lively tunes of "Groove Factory."

Zoofari is chaired by Cathi Decker and sponsored by FOSAZ, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which has helped support and improve the Santa Ana Zoo for over 45 years.

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