Zoolala fundraiser features eco-friendly eats, sweets

July 6, 2015 - 9:17am

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

This year's Zoolala benefit, taking place July 18 at the Oregon Zoo, will showcase some of 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 benefit, is presented by Spirit Mountain Casino with support from NW Natural and 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 5 p.m., guests will graze their way through a "Savory Safari," sipping complimentary wine and craft beer while tasting culinary delights from more than 20 of the region's best restaurants. Small plates from eateries like Laurelhurst Market, Bamboo Sushi and Oregon Zoo Catering will highlight the community's focus on farm-to-table sustainability.

Along the "safari," guests will have the opportunity to explore areas of the zoo normally off-limits to the public, experience up-close encounters with exotic animals and enjoy live music at every turn, with performances by The Bylines, Moon by Night and Sabroso.

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

"We strive for a fully compostable and recyclable event," said foundation director Jani Iverson. "It's the little things that make a big impact — just like every donation counts in creating a better future for wildlife."

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

A generous $15,000 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 for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime camping experience at the zoo.

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.

The zoo will close to regular visitors at 3 p.m. on July 18 in preparation for Zoolala. Guests can remain on grounds until 4 p.m.