By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
The first cold front of the year including wind and rain did not dampen spirits as $30,000 was raised at the Zoobilee 2013’s “Wild Walk About” event sponsored by the Frank Buck Zoological Society Saturday.
As the largest fundraiser for the society during the year, the event was originally to take place outside at the zoo but was moved to the Gainesville Civic Center as the weather deteriorated.
Although many of the zoo animals could not be transported to the Civic Center venue, several zoo inhabitants appeared at the party dressed in their finest feathers and scales and mingled with the crowd of 200 zoological society patrons.
Frank Buck Zoo director Susan Kleven and Dave Kleven, also known as “Critterman,” enthralled the crowd with information on various owls that were on display at the event.
A Brazilian three banded armadillo was displayed by zoo assistant Julia Ault. Ault noted that this armadillo is the only one of the species that can actually curl up into a ball.
Zoo keeper Hodge Cherry kept a polite distance with a ball python snake he was using to charm the crowd.
Local restaurants participating at the event included Chili’s, Karen’s Katering, Fuzzy’s Taco, Edelweiss Tea Haus, Sernas, Love of Food, Luigi’s, Dieter’s, Applebee’s, Extreme Cuisine and Sarah’s on the Square.
Music, dancing and a live and silent auction rounded out the evening’s entertainment.
Karen Estes, president of the Frank Buck Zoological Society said that the event was a big success despite the weather.
“It was absolutely wonderful and everyone had a great time,” she said. “We had a great crowd in attendance and we are excited to announce that the zoo will be getting a new alligator exhibit this next year.
“Our zoo is growing and we are looking forward to expanding the exhibits for everyone to enjoy,” she continued. “Bring the kids! They will have a good time.”
The mission statement for the Frank Buck Zoological Society is to provide financial support to the Frank Buck Zoo for facility improvements, animal purchases, promotions and zoo operations.
By CATHY MOUNCE
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