Revelers don their best 'beastly' attire for fund-raisers at Toledo Zoo

·3 min read

Sep. 26—It takes a whole community to support a top notch zoo like the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium.

And this past summer, community movers and shakers of all adult ages stepped up to the plate. The Toledo Zoo is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and houses over 10,000 individual animals that cover 720 species.

While the animals were sleeping, the PNC ZOOtoDO presented by Lexus was in full bloom with 1,800 guests. Known as a black tie and tennies event, it always entices folks to be creative in their garb so it was a night for spectating while sipping and supping. There were animal and tropical prints, hats, sunglasses, boas and more including several to support the aviary theme.

You might say birds of a feather flock together.

Kathy "Tiger" and Doug Andrews once again were a cause for notice in their matching pink ensembles. Kellse Cole also sported pink, a boa. Title sponsor PNC President Bill McDonnell and his wife Heather were all decked out in pink flamingo print attire. Jared Lerch, there with Colleen Kupniewski, sported a black top hat with a pink feather and a pink shirt. Barbara Burson, there with husband John Burson, wore pink flamingo motif sunglasses. Laura Pietrek wore a red print dress with birds. Meredith Bieszczed and Brittany Schroeder were all decked out in spectator hats with feathers.

The party started on the Anthony Wayne Trail side then guests strolled across the pedestrian bridge to the historic side amid the Flamingo Key, Tiger Terrace, Cassowary Crossing, Aviary, ProMedica Museum of Historial History, Barnyard, Penguin Beach and Aquarium, and The Lounge premium experience sponsored by Hollywood Casino, which was a favorite spot for many revelers.

There was more space to spread out this year with room to roam that included the aquarium and amphitheater. Live entertainment was on seven stages, animal experiences were at the giraffe feed deck and aquarium touch tank.

Nearly 30 restaurants provided everything from seafood, steak, chicken and pork to salads, pastas, and desserts. 7 Little Cupcakes won the Best Booth Presentation award and Rockwell's won the Best Food Presentation award, according to last year's event chairman Peter Boyer, there with his wife Amelia. For a complete list of restaurants which includes Beirut, Benchmark and others, go to the zoo's website.

More than $250,000 is the estimated net amount raised. Bravo to event chairmen Jeremy Zeisloft and Walter Norris and their committee. In addition to the sponsors already mentioned were 13abc, FiberFrame, The Andersons, Buckeye Broadband, Buehrer Group, Ohio Council of Community Schools, Telesystem, Valley Plastics Co., Taylor Automotive Family, Westfield Electric Inc., Key Realty, Yuengling and more.

The Zoo's Feast with the Beasts presented by PNC also supported the Zoo. The 112 attendees, who were transported via valet service sponsored by BMW of Toledo, helped net more than $89,000. Cocktails at the more intimate affair were at Tiger Terrace with the new tiger cubs, and a sit down dinner, by chefs Eloisa Beltran, the zoo; Robbie Routh, The Orchard, and Jamie Perkins and Joseph Jacobsen, Cork and Knife Provisions.

Among the guests were John Hadley, Jeff and Patty Scott, Sharon Simmons, Helen and Dr. Greg Emmert, Brandi Shepard, and Bryan Miksanek, Kelly Burkholder and Marilyn Lazarus.

The Silverback Society, a group of zoo philanthropists who support the zoo for future generations through planned giving, met recently for the group's annual stewardship dinner at the zoo, this year, held at the ProMedica Museum of Natural History. About 80 guests enjoyed animal interactions, a three-course meal and a zoo update with President and CEO Jeff Sailer.

If you missed out on one of the above events there are plenty more in store for this fall including the Fall Brew for adults on Oct. 8 plus Halloween trick-or-treat events for children. And before we know it, the Lights Before Christmas will be here, an experience not to miss. For information see the zoo's website.

First Published September 26, 2021, 8:30am

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