Zoolala fundraiser features eco-friendly eats, sweets

July 7, 2014 - 5:17pm

Oregon Zoo Foundation's Zoolala benefit offers chance to sip, savor and support

This year's Zoolala benefit, taking place July 19 at the Oregon Zoo, will showcase some the Northwest's finest food, the world's most interesting animals and a commitment to sustainability and local businesses.

Zoolala, the Oregon Zoo Foundation's annual gala fundraiser, is presented by Spirit Mountain Casino with support from NW Natural and many more.

"We share a commitment to the stewardship of our wild world and know it's not just a responsibility, it's a privilege," said Jocelyn Huffman, Spirit Mountain Casino sponsorship administrator.

Starting at 6 p.m., guests can graze their way through a "Savory Safari," sipping complimentary wine and craft beer and tasting culinary delights from more than 20 of the region's best and most eco-friendly restaurants. The list includes Bamboo Sushi — the world's first certified sustainable sushi restaurant — and Bamboo's soon-to-open Izakaya, which continues the company's focus on farm-to-table sustainability.

Along the "safari," guests can experience up-close encounters with animals and their caretakers, plus live music at every turn, with performances by local bands Sam Bam Boo, Sneakin' Out and the Pete Krebs Trio featuring vocalist Jen Bernard.

By 7:30 p.m., all will have reached their "Decadent Destination," converging at the zoo concert lawn for a video presentation, dancing to music by Soul Vaccination, along with treats from dessert purveyors like Urban Farmer and Ruby Jewel Scoops — whose hand-crafted ice cream features locally sourced organic ingredients.

Proceeds from Zoolala support the zoo's advances in animal welfare, life-changing educational experiences and programs to protect endangered species worldwide.

"We strive for a fully compostable and recyclable event," said foundation events manager Beth Smith. "And we work hard to partner with local businesses who employ green practices that meet our shared goals. It's the little things that make a big impact — just like every donation counts in creating a better future for wildlife."

A generous $10,000 matching gift challenge from RayEtte Oregon Investments, LLC, will double the impact of donations made during the event or through the event website. Zoolala guests can also purchase raffle tickets from event volunteers for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

For more information or to purchase tickets and tables, visit oregonzoo.org/zoolala or call 503-220-5738. General admission is $150, and VIP tickets are $250 and provide guests early access beginning at 5 p.m. Creative cocktail attire is encouraged. Guests must be 21 or older with valid ID.