Party animals have roaring good time at LPZ’s Great Catsby
Zoo Ball co-chairman Cynthia Ross Polayes originally of Evanston with husband David. | Lee Litas~For Sun-Times Media
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago; (312) 742-2000 or lpzoo.org
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:38AM
The Event: It was great, American and novel the way the Great Catsby, Lincoln Park Zoo’s 35th annual Zoo Ball, roared into being on July 13 bringing together more than 1,100 animal lovers and treating them to a storybook evening. Set adjacent to the Kovler Lion House, an almighty roar signaled commencement of festivities that included a sumptuous feast, top-shelf musical entertainment and even a surprise performance by the original Village People.
Founded in 1868, LPZ is one of the last free zoos in the nation and a historic Chicago landmark.
Cause Célèbre: “We’re thrilled that we have a sold-out event this evening. Lincoln Park Zoo is a treasure in the city; it’s free and open 365 days of the year. It’s an urban oasis and we are delighted that all of our zoo family friends can join us here tonight,” said Abby Zanarini, women’s board president.
The women’s board, composed of some 90 active members from Chicago and surrounding suburbs, sponsors the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk and numerous educational programs for inner-city and suburban children to learn about all animals.
“Come here on a summer day and see how many children use and enjoy this facility,” said Bridget Campbell, a five-year women’s board member.
Next year’s chairman, Charlotte Monhart of Wilmette, has been a board member for eight years but the connection to LPZ runs deep in her family. Her husband, Jim, was on the auxiliary board for 15 years and his mother was on the women’s board for more than 30 years.
“And our daughter is selling raffle tickets tonight so it’s [going on] three generations,” Jim Monhart said.
“Keep supporting the zoo to keep it free,” said 10-year board member Mary Pearlman.
Bottom Line: The event raised more than $1 million dollars in support of Lincoln Park Zoo.