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Friends of Santa Ana Zoo Raises Record-Breaking Amount at “Starry, Starry Zoofari” with Emmy Award Winner Henry DiCarlo from KTLA 5 Morning News

The Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ) raises over half a million-net cash every year for the Santa Ana Zoo

Over 300 guests attended the "Starry, Starry Zoofari" themed event on August 20th hosted by The Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ), the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 1972 to support and improve the Santa Ana Zoo. Zoofari takes place at one of the most exotic venues in Orange County, outside and under the stars on the Zoo grounds.

Guests enjoyed a first-class dining experience catered by Parties by Panache with a hosted bar, including a special drink, the "Starlight Cocktail," which consisted of Prosecco Brut Champagne with Chambord and a fresh boysenberry for fun.

R.W.B. Party Rentals provided unique decorations with various scenic designs reminiscent of a jungle forest with sparkling and dazzling items. Also on display was the magnificent Golden-Poppies Elephant designed by Jeff Carillo. Placed at the Santa Ana Zoo as part of the Elephant Parade, a social enterprise that runs the world's largest decorated elephant statues created by artists and celebrities to raise awareness for the protection and conservation of elephants.

Guests began the night being greeted by various animals and their docent "handlers." A few snakes, a centipede, an armadillo, and two donkeys were just some wildlife that welcomed everyone as they entered the Santa Ana Zoo. Guests were also privileged to tour the Zoo grounds and ride the Fifty Monkey Ferris Wheel, and visit the primates the Santa Ana Zoo is famous for. They could also walk through the newly finished Butterfly enclosure and check the status of the new Giant River Otter Habitat and Primate Trails Experience that is being created.

Emmy Award winner, Meteorologist, and sportscaster for the KTLA 5 Morning News Henry DiCarlo served as emcee and auctioneer for the evening. DiCarlo was born and raised in the city of Orange. He remembers coming to the Santa Ana Zoo as a child and bringing his children when they were young, so he was thrilled to be back at a place where he has such fond memories.

The event netted over $100,000, which included almost $63,000 from the silent and live auction. The special Fund-A-Need also raised enough funds to purchase needed equipment for the Vet Hospital on sight.

"Zoofari has played an integral role in raising 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," said Cat Decker, event host and Executive Director of FOSAZ.

Live auction items were a one-of-a-kind children’s Rocking Zebra that was hand-crafted and donated by FOSAZ Board Member Rip Ribble; a Magic Castle evening for four adults donated by the Santa Ana Zoo's resident Magician Jeff Lemasters-Tahir; a ZIP Navigator Electric Golf Cart donated by FOSAZ Board Member Howard Hall; Henry DiCarlo donated a KTLA one of a kind V.I.P. experience for a private tour, meet & greet, photo opportunity and tour of the soundstage; a fantasy flight on the Goodyear Blimp for two; Parties by Panache donated an epicurean five-course gourmet dinner for twelve guests for an in home party; a private tour with Zoo Director Ethan Fisher which would include getting up close and personal with Anteaters "Peter" and "Hee-Soo"; and a Michael Kors Large North South Tote Shoulder Handbag along with a Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Wristlet and Mary Frances coin purse/key fob donated by FOSAZ Board Member Patty McClendon stuffed with $100 California scratchers (donated by Rib Ribble) and a stack of cash donated from FOSAZ Board Members, Advisory Board Members, and Zoo Staff – totaling over $1500.

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

Zoofari is chaired by Cat Decker and sponsored by FOSAZ, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has helped support and improve the Santa Ana Zoo for 50 years.
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