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Barbara Hendel

ATT: Rain fails to dampen the fun at Toledo Zoo's soiree

ATT-Rain-fails-to-dampen-the-fun-at-Toledo-Zoo-s-soiree

John Retzke has a firm grip on wife Lisa D'Ascenzo. <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>PHOTO GALLERY:</b></font> <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100624&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=624009999&Ref=PH"> <b> ZOOtoDO at Toledo Zoo: </b></a> June 18, 2010

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The Toledo Zoo's 23rd annual ZOOtoDO was another roaring great time Friday night.

It is the area's biggest one-night fund-raiser, and the “Silverback Soiree: Party with a Purpose”-themed event presented by PNC enticed a sell-out crowd of 1,800 to roam the zoo.

Animal prints along with animal paws and safari hats made for festive attire for the black tie with tennies event. Fashions ranged from tuxedo jackets with shorts and cocktail dresses with sandals, to those who didn't get the dress code and wore golf attire.

Seen were board members John Jones and Marna Ramnath and past board member Gina Thompson. Alexis Means of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, was there, too, having fun but not on the job.

Four bands beat out tunes as local restaurants, caterers, and country clubs joined forces to provide a great feast: Italian, American, Mexican, Mediterranean, Asian, continental, and more. Event chairman Peter Boyer, who is a new board member, said there were more than 55 food suppliers. Missed was the late Richard Boyer, Peter's dad, who was at every ZOOtoDO for more than a decade.

The wild night is a rain-or-shine event, and this year it started out hot and sultry, but a storm kicked up halfway into the evening, the first time it had rained in more than a decade. The zoo and its committee, however, had planned ahead to ensure guests' safety, and as tents began to flap and lift off the ground, activities moved inside, said Andi Norman, the zoo's director of marketing and public relations.

The fun continued until well after midnight.

One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the zoo's exhibits, care, education, and more and to help keep the ticket prices affordable, said Ann Baker, executive director. The totals are not yet available however the estimated net is expected to be more than $200,000.

The committee headed by Mr. Boyer included Connie Warner, Katie Yarder, Mike Robarge, Debbie Ernsthausen, Jen Goodrich, Dave Koenig, Ken Borowicz, and more than 15 others.

Sponsors included The Blade, Cumulus Broadcasting, WTVG-TV, Lamar, Toledo Tent, Kroger, Rudolph Libbe, MadHouse, Med Corp, Northwestern Mutual, NewFax Corp, Absolute Vodka, and RG Dezigns.

To see more pictures from the event, go to toledoblade.com.

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