|ZooFest Gala Takes Walk on the Wild Side
by Jeanne Lawrence
This year’s ZooFest! was kicked up a notch to celebrate the 40th Anniverary. Safari was what co-chairs Lindsay Bolton and Layne Gray had in mind while honoring Patsy and Jim Ludwig – who helped establish the Zoo Board.
First, a Jazz trio set the mood for cocktails – served from a bar wrapping around the glorious old tree near the historic 1921 carousel built by William Dentzel, son of the renown Philadelphia style designer, Gustav Dentzel, credited with originating the first ‘roundabouts’ in America.
|The 500 guests then wandered down a leopard print carpet into a clear tent decorated with chocolate brown tables and jewel toned seats, worthy of King Solomon’s Mines and lit by a multitude of votives to complete the wildlife theme – all thanks to Riccardo Benavides of Ideas Events.
McCall Caterers served Humbotlt Fog Goat Cheese Fondue, Butter Lettuce and Mache Salad with Spiced Apple Citrus Dressing and Braised Short Ribs, finally a scrumptious Banarama – roasted banana and macadamia gelato with rum sauce.
|In a dramatic reveal, the dance floor was unveiled behind a sheer drapery, a chic lounge with zebra banquettes and internally-glowing cocktail tables. Everyone boogied off those extra calories to Double Funk Crunch – the band sounded as yummy as their name.
On the Zoo Board for 55 years, Jim Ludwig was instrumental in transferring ownership of the Zoo from the City to the SF Zoological Society. He remembers the first ZooFest! when there was an Ostrich Race and Emcee – actor Hugh O’Brian and Board Member Fred Carroll wrestled tigers. “But this ZooFest may have been the best over the forty years,” added Jim.
|Jim just returned from a whirlwind tour of the New York City Zoo’s. His group met with Wildlife Conservation Society members at the Bronx Zoo including dinner at the Yale Club on Friday, private showings at the American Museum of Natural History and Rose Planetarium on Saturday, capping the weekend off with breakfast and a tour of the Central Park Zoo. I bet you thought Zoo keeping was easy.
And don’t forget ZooFest for Kids! Plenty of food and fun focused on Earth-friendly activities for the young and young at heart. There were behind the scenes tours with zookeepers, face painting and lots of surprises. What with adorable polar bears now on the endangered species list, what a good way to make every day Earth Day.
|San Francisco’s SPCA Holds 140th Anniversary
The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals turns 140 this year – that’s 980 in dog years, in case you wondered. Big doings are planned to mark the occasion.
There was an Open House at Maddie’s Adoption Center, which also celebrates its 10th Anniversary. In honor of the occasion, they rolled back the clock and charged 1998 pet adoption fees – a very nice gift indeed.
Police Chief Heather Fong, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and Assemblyman Mark Leno enjoyed the festivities, especially the cotton candy, popcorn and cupcakes.
|All sorts of events were scheduled like face painting, contests – trainers tested pets for their agility, raffles of 101 Dalmatians DVDs and pet related books, and tours of the under-construction Leanne B Roberts Animal Care Center.
SF Banker Bill Hutchinson founded the group, which is the fourth oldest SPCA in the US, after encouraging the State Legislature to pass a bill making cruelty to animals a crime in California.
To date, Maddie’s Adoption Center has sent 36,000 rescued pets to loving homes. I think Bill would give his resounding approval.
|2008 San Francisco Designer Showcase
One more “Palace by the Bay” will get the royal treatment when thirty of the Bay Area’s most talented interior designers remake the historic residence at 2820 Scott in Pacific Heights.
In 1905, Eugene and Olive Grace originally commissioned James A. McCullough to design and build the four-story, 16,000 square foot Italianate mansion – one of the largest in the showcase’s history.
Briefly owned by Mortimer Fleishhacker, the home was customized to accommodate the requirements of HRM Marie, Queen of Romania, during her 1915 visit to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
|Design firms including Ann Getty and Associates, Thomas Bartlett, Candace Barnes, Tim Hepworth and David Howard, and Benjamin Dhong delighted in the manse’s grand staircase with exquisite Louis Comfort Tiffany skylight, ballroom, full house width reception hall and rooftop terrace with sweeping Bay views.
Funds raised from the annual event go to San Francisco University High School’s financial aid program, which has benefited from nearly $10 million since the first Showcase in 1977.
|Photographs by DREW ALTIZER & MARKROGERSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM|