By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: June 2010
This year’s WALTZ brings together seasoned and new talent. (L to R): Gae Bachle, 1990 and 2010 chair; Kay Schermerhorn, 1990 and 2010 chair; Mary Collins, former Tulsa Zoo Friends executive director and 2010 honorary chair; Gayle Eby, 2010 patron chair; and Keegan Young, Tulsa Zoo Friends executive director.
Hear them roar on Friday, June 18, as lions, tigers and Tulsa Zoo supporters come together for the 20th annual WALTZ on the Wild Side. This “wild” event started with a simple phrase two decades ago – “We All Love The Zoo.” A shorter, catchier version – WALTZ – became the label for one of Tulsa’s biggest, most unusual and most exciting charitable parties.
An evening of dancing, food and drink from more than 40 of Tulsa’s finest restaurants, caterers and beverage purveyors takes place in the “wild” surroundings of the Tulsa Zoo. Menu items include just about everything, from sushi to prime rib.
This year’s event benefits the new Asian Cats exhibit. Inspiration for the décor is drawn from rich Asian colors, bright florals, textured fabrics, lanterns and flags. Whitney Stauffer, special events manager, says they have never had a theme like this one. “There will be special touches and unexpected surprises for guests,” she adds.
From 7 p.m. until midnight, guests can dance to the music of The Stars, the same band that performed at the first WALTZ two decades ago. Earl Clark, a long-time WALTZ veteran, will also perform some of his famous and favorite jazz tunes.
In planning this milestone celebration, every effort was made to look at where the zoo was when WALTZ began, its progress to where it is today, and where organizers hope it will be in the near future.
They are very pleased to bring back the talent of several seasoned committee members who are passionate about the zoo. Honorary chairperson for the 2010 event is former Tulsa Zoo Friends executive director Mary Collins. Committee co-chairs Gae Bachle and Kay Schermerhorn also served on the first WALTZ in 1990.
Nearly 1,500 people are expected to attend this year. Throughout the evening, docents will be stationed at strategic points with animals for all to see and enjoy. A live auction with many fine items is designed to draw wild roars from the crowd and the ecstatic winners.
WALTZ 2010 is an invitation-only event. Ticket prices, which include all food and drinks, are $125 per person for Tulsa Zoo Friends members (two-ticket limit) and $150 for non-members. Patron and sponsorship packages with special reserved seating and tables are available from $1,000 to $20,000. Portions of all ticket prices are tax deductible.
This premier event is credited for developing most major projects at the zoo. Prior to the first WALTZ, the zoo had never received a single gift for more than $5,000. Through the years WALTZ proceeds have helped build Chimpanzee Connection, Jaguar Exhibit at the Rain Forest, Elephant Encounter Museum, Southwest Desert Renovation, Children’s Zoo, Siamang Island, African Penguin Exhibit, California Sea Lion Exhibit, Masaai Village, Polar Bear Exhibit and Coral Reef Exhibit, as well as Growing Wild! Capital Campaign.
Safari black tie attire is encouraged – even attire from the earliest WALTZ events, if the clothes still fit. Whitney hints that the many surprises may include a very special and very secret door prize. Every ticket will automatically be entered in the drawing. Lots of laughs are absolutely guaranteed. Anyone who would like to forget a fabulous safari costume from years past won’t have a chance to during a retro photo slideshow throughout WALTZ history.
To request an invitation or to discuss a reserved table or sponsorship, call (918) 669-6614 or email eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.