Zoo To Do 2015: The Roaring ‘20s, presented by The Eugene McDermott Foundation, surpassed $1,000,000 in funds raised. The Zoo was successful in raising more money to support its animals and programs this year than ever before. In addition, through its penguin naming live auction item, $10,000 will be donated directly to penguin conservation.
Chaired by Cindy and Chuck Gummer along with their sons, Chris Gummer, Jay Gummer and Ryan Gummer, the event’s smashing success was the result of the hard work of underwriting chair Mike Andereck, committee members and support from honorary chairs Micki and the Honorable Mike Rawlings, patrons, underwriters, and sponsors. In addition, the live and silent auctions, as well as the Mystery Box raffle, contributed to this record-breaking year and this absolutely fun event.
The cocktail hour presented by Neiman Marcus kicked off the night in the award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit, where guests were greeted by ladies dressed in 1920s costumes and posed for photos with members of the Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) Guild, who were dressed in original costumes from the BONNIE AND CLYDE musical on loan from DSM. All the while, interactive animal demonstrations also in the Simmons Safari Base Camp Deck brought home the real reason everyone supports the Dallas Zoo.
Mixologists Jason Long from Abacus; Spencer Shelton from Bolsa; and Alexis Rolon from Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa served specialty drinks with a ‘20s theme. Honorary Chef Dan Landsberg and Chef Chair Sarah Barr, both of Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa, along with Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft from the Hilton Anatole Hotel, cruised the strolling dinner with guests among the 24 restaurant stations representing the finest restaurants in Dallas. At each station, executive chefs served delicious gourmet treats of appetizers, entrée specialties, and desserts. The complete listing of restaurants is attached.
Entering the Wilds of Africa plaza, guests were seated and the show began. Gregg Hudson, president and CEO, the Dallas Zoo, thanked everyone for their support and attending this evening’s event. Michael Gruber, chairman of the board, introduced chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer, citing Cindy’s six years of serving on the board and applauding the Gummers’ passion for nature and conservation.
“We’re thrilled to chair the 2015 Zoo To Do with our family,” Cindy said, and Chuck agreed. “Our sons signed on as co-chairs the minute we asked them, and their wives all support this very important event and the mission. We all look forward to a wonderfully successful evening of fun and fundraising.” She introduced Chris Gummer and his wife, Alisha; Jay Gummer and his wife, Cameron; Ryan Gummer and his wife, Michelle, bringing them all on stage, followed by a round of applause. She also thanked patron party hosts, Barbara and Don Daseke. Helping create Zoo To Do and advising on fundraising and the overall event were the Advisory Council members Jennifer Altabef, Diane Brierley, Patty Stone and Ellen Winspear.
The live auction began, featuring rare Zoo experiences, travel, an All Star Chef Dinner for 10 – which was sold three times! - and even more prizes on the Big Board. Following the auction, guests danced the night away with music from Party Machine.
Zoo To Do is a major source of funding for the Dallas Zoo. With the proceeds from the event, the Zoo is able to continue providing outstanding education, entertainment, and wildlife conservation.
For more information, visit the website at http://www.dallaszootodo.com or contact Stephanie Thompson, event manager, at 469.554.7441 or email her at Stephanie.Thompson@DallasZoo.com.
Photos by Dana Driensky and Daniel Driensky
About the Dallas Zoo: The Dallas Zoo, recently named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA TODAY, is the largest zoological experience in Texas. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the zoo features a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis) and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit DallasZoo.com or call 469.554.7500. DART is the official transportation provider of the Dallas Zoo, and its Red Line stops at the Zoo’s main entrance.