Colorado the penguin was surrounded by twins when many of the men at the Fête with the Flock Zoo Ball came in similar black-tie attire.
Colorado, subject of the June 20 gala's theme, waddled around among long dresses and tuxes at the cocktail reception for a while before heading back into his carrier to relax as gala patrons enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, fed lettuce to the giraffes and took selfies with the popular long-necked mammal herd in the African Rift Valley exhibit. Then they visited with an armadillo, Kale the porcupine, a giant tortoise, Wally Gator and a large Abyssinian ground hornbill.
Never mind that it was a warm summer evening, it was a sold-out-far-in-advance formally dressed crowd of 240 that was shuttled up the mountain to the Lodge at Moose Lake for a gourmet dinner followed by a lively auction shepherded by Kevin Patterson, paddle-raising pledges for animal conservation and then dessert at the Overlook Cafe, with its views of the zoo and the city.
As is tradition, there was a table of stuffed toy penguins to adopt. The adoptables change with each year's animal theme.
More than $200,000 was raised, "an incredible year, supporting the zoo's mission of conservation, education and animal care," said co-chair Mari Sinton-Martinez. What makes the Zoo Ball even more important, she pointed out, is that the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of fewer than 10 accredited zoos in North America that aren't taxpayer supported. It was founded in 1926 by Spencer Penrose and then incorporated as a nonprofit public trust.
Chairing this year's successful event with Sinton-Martinez was Jill Johnson. Their committee included Sheree Ahrendsen, Yvonne Conrad, Tia Ferguson, Sally Hybl, Jamie Kratt, Betsy Sobral, Heather Van Sant, Ellen York, Denise Bac, Kate Faricy Maiurro, Marita Hollis, Lynn Janeczek, Monica Peloso, Michel Tomsic and Nina Wright.
The Zoo Ball presenting sponsors were Central Bancorp and Griffis Residential, with supporting sponsors BKD, Children's Hospital Colorado Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor, El Pomar Foundation, Mary K. Chapman Foundation, Porsche of Colorado Springs, Service Systems Associates and USOC.