Gainesville Daily Register
Organizers of the annual Zoobilee fundraiser have announced both a change of venue and the official lineup of special items available during the event’s live auction.
The event is still set for 6:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday. But Frank Buck Zoological Society President Karen Cook said due to a bad weather forecast, “Ballyhoo at the Zoo!” will unfold at Gainesville Civic Center rather than Frank Buck Zoo. Tickets are $50 and the event is still set to offer lots of delicious finger foods along with an appearance by Critterman & Friends from the Dallas Zoo and dancing, with music by guest deejay Doug Biter of Dallas.
As in years past, the event will include samplings of menus from local restaurants including Chili’s, Applebees, Sarah’s On The Square, Karen’s Catering, Joey’s Hilltop Cafe, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Dieter Brothers Restaurant, Chicken Express, Serna’s and Edelweiss Tea Haus.
But Zoobilee, now in its 12th year, is offering a live auction for the first time in its history, and the lineup of items may be most attractive to lovers of pop culture.
Available items will include no less than a special Rolling Stones plaque with a snare drum head autographed by all five members of the band (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman); a NASCAR plaque autographed by Dale Earnhardt Sr.; a lunar-themed plaque autographed by astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, John Glenn and James Lovell; a Snoopy-as-Red Baron cartoon cel, autographed by “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz; and a white electric guitar autographed by members of The Eagles (Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit).
The guitar, Cook explained, was actually used during an Eagles tour.
Cook also said she hopes for a Zoobilee turnout of 300, and those resulting proceeds should bring the zoological society closer to the goal of providing Frank Buck Zoo with a female companion to the male “red ruffed” lemur currently in holding.
A tentative timeline has the new animal scheduled to arrive by spring.
Zoo director Susan Kleven recently said the annual party enables the zoo to continue to upgrade exhibits and purchase new animals.
During 2011, for example, Zoobilee proceeds enabled zoo staff to purchase a zebra, and the lemur transition will be made possible through the same process.
“This is the largest fundraiser that we have each year, and they’ve had a huge impact,” Kleven said. “They pay for new exhibits and new animals. Those are the two biggest things they fund.”
This year’s Zoobilee is sponsored by First State Bank, B-29 Investments LP, Fulton Supply and Recycling and the law offices of Hayes, Berry, White and Van Zant.
Public Zoobilee sponsorship table opportunities include $600, $1,000, $2,000 and $2,500 packages.
Seating is limited and attendees must be 18 or older.
To reserve a table or purchase tickets, call (361) 701-1816 or e-mail email@example.com. Tickets are also available at First State Bank on California Street in Gainesville.