The weather was wonderful for more than 1,500 attendees at the PNC ZOOtoDO 2013 presented by Mass Mutual Northwest Ohio on June 14 at the Toledo Zoo. It was the largest crowd in the 26-year history of the event and the more than $250,000 estimated proceeds was a record high.
The Australian-themed evening was in honor of the zoo’s new Wild Walkabout presented by Mercy, which includes Baru, the 17-foot saltwater crocodile brought to Toledo by Block Communications Inc., The Blade’s parent company.
PHOTO GALLERY: A wild night at the zoo and more
It was the first ZOOtoDo experience for Jeff Sailer, the zoo’s executive director, who was hired last August, and he was duly impressed.
Champagne, food, and tunes started on the Africa! Overlook side, then humans wandered past animals who were tucked in for the night to the Historic side for more great grub and music, and mingling.
People-watching is a major sport at this black tie and tennis shoes event. There were tails with shorts, micro-mini dresses, animal prints, giant paw shoes, safari hats, and more, including crocodile tails peeking from under jackets.
Fantastic foods included lamb chops, shrimp, barbeque, sushi, salads, fruits, and decadent desserts. More than 50 restaurants participated and American Harvest vodka martini bars, with towering ice sculptures, were extremely popular all night.
Stone Oak Country Club served lamb chops and won the Best Food Presentation Award. The Best Booth Presentation award went to Texas Roadhouse.
Among those in attendance were Keith and Susan Burwell, Bob and Kim LaClair, Linda and Max Hoetzl, Shelly and Brent Rice, Tommy and Annie Pipatjarasgit, Sharon Speyer and Dean Monske, Ken and Jalna MacLaren.
Spotted in the corporate areas were Tim and Kelly Coleman, Deb Ernsthausen, Doug and Kim Kearns, Mike Buganski, Mike Nusbaum, Bruce Deboer, Chris Heerdegen, Tom Gallagher, and Mike and Carol Anderson.
Event chairman Peter Boyer was assisted by a committee of 20 including corporate sponsorship chairman Jeremy Zeisloft; restaurant relations chairman Dave Koenig, and design committee chairman Katie Yarder. Sponsors included YP.com, Toledo Refining, and nearly 60 others.
Print shirts and flip flops were popular attire for a Hawaiian luau hosted by Tim Valko and Jim Moore June 14 at their Westmoreland home. Guests were greeted with leis flown in from Hawaii via Meadows Florist. Then they perused the lovely gardens by the pool on the perfect almost- summer night.
Dr. Valko did all the cooking and Mr. Moore did the grilling and whipped up pineapple- infused vodka martinis. Also served were tuna tortillas, pork-lettuce parcels, duck and chutney tartlets, purple sticky rice, heart of palm salad, grilled tuna steak, and skewered chicken, plus individual upside down cakes with handmade macademia chocolate truffles by Dr. Valko.
The $5,200 proceeds went to the Young Artists at Work Program, a summer youth employment program operated by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.
Among the 31 attendees who paid $100 each were Dennis Norman, arts commission president, and wife Nicole Brandstrup, on the committee for Young Artists at Work, Gail and Robert Zimmerman, Pat and Bob Levy, Ned Hein, Meg and Dick Ressner, Julie Beckert, Brent Lohman, and Sherry and Larry Kerstetter.
The seventh annual Beethoven and Bar-B-Que was June 11 at The Andersons Activity Building in Maumee. Guests sipped drinks outdoors on the patio, then dined inside as the Toledo Symphony performed. It was all for Partners In Education, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by the Toledo Rotary Club to help businesses collaborate with local schools to help students succeed.
Recognized for its 20-year partnership was The Andersons. The program was the vision of the late Tom Anderson, to focus on employees giving their time and talent as tutors and advisors to students. Kandy Takas, Heidi Reed, and Shelly King were present to receive the recognition.
The New Partnership of the Year award was presented to Binkelman Corporation for its partnership with Keyser Elementary School. Accepting the award was Marcie Kunick of Binkleman. Sixteen employees went far beyond literacy tutoring and brought second and third graders to Imagination Station, provided hats, scarves, and gloves, and repainted the United States map on the playground during a Day of Caring.
Jane Duross, a Grove Patterson retired teacher, was awarded the Bill Niehous Innovation Award for her work with the College Coach Program.
More than $8,000 was raised. Sponsors included The Blade, Buckeye CableSystem, BCSN, and The Andersons with hosts Fran and Dick Anderson.