AT THE FIRST Zoofari! fund-raiser organized by the Louisville [Ky.] Zoological Society, a video of an endearing 2-year-old lion named Trapper inspired guests to "adopt" him, as well as other Louisville Zoo animals, during the animal auction. Twenty years later, the still-charming Trapper was again the honoree, and guests paid homage to him in New Orleans-themed Mardi Grrras style.
More than 400 guests donning festive Mardi Gras beads enjoyed a New Orleans-style parade from the reception area near the front of the zoo to a tent for a gourmet dinner. After dinner, a silent auction had guests vying for more than 100 items donated by local artists and businesses, resulting in more than $30,000 in donations.
The main draw of the night was an exciting animal auction, earning $88,000 in donations. "We make most of our money there," says Diane Davis, president of the society's board of directors. With a professional auctioneer and videos created by Allen-Martin Productions of Louisville, guests bid on selected animals for the chance to have a plaque with their names outside each animal's cage. Next year's Zoofari! event chairperson gave each winning bidder a silver mint julep cup with Trapper's portrait welded on the front.