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Black Tie, Tails Flock Together

August 27, 1996|KATHRYN BOLD

A chatty macaw and a friendly iguana were among the party animals that turned up for Zoofari, a benefit held Saturday for the Santa Ana Zoo.

Birds in Paradise was the theme of the black-tie safari dinner staged by the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo, which drew 160 people and a few zoo inhabitants to the Santa Ana Heights home of John and Donna Crean. The $100-per-person gala was expected to net $25,000 for the zoo's new walk-through aviary.

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A Wild Time

Guests showed up for the party dressed in their interpretation of "black-tie safari" attire. Many women sported animal print evening wear, while men dressed down their tuxedos with safari hats, khaki shorts, zebra-printed ties and other wild touches.

"We have lots of birds of a different feather tonight," joked Deborah Newmeyer, event chairwoman, who wore a zebra knit dress.

"There's a peacock," she said, pointing to a woman in a tropical-hued party dress.

Howard Hall, president of the Friends board, wore a black tuxedo jacket with walking shorts, hiking boots and a leopard-print bow tie.

"You could dress all black tie or all safari, but I wanted to do both," Hall said. "These boots are the most comfortable dress shoes I own."

Party-goers were greeted at the door of the Creans' Tara-inspired mansion by zoo trainers bearing a green iguana named Spike and a singing, talking macaw named Pedro.

"Spike looks like my iguana at home," said Jeannie Lawrence, one of the few guests who did not shy away from petting the iguana. Lawrence and her husband, Richard, who wore a safari vest with his tux, were the evening's honorary chairs.

"We have a semi-private zoo," Jeannie said. "We really love animals."

As a souvenir of their wild evening, guests could have their picture taken with a menagerie of tropical birds.

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Tropical Beat

After the reception, guests were seated on the patio at tropical-looking tables draped in bright purple cloths decorated with colorful napkins and birds of paradise.

"We wanted a tropical rain-forest effect," Newmeyer said.

Sari, a group of South American musicians, entertained before dinner by playing music on native instruments.

Twin Palms Restaurant then served grilled white sea bass with citrus sauce, roasted chicken, penne pasta with tomatoes and basil and, for dessert, orange chocolate caprice. Guests ended the evening by dancing to the sounds of the Blue Machine.

Proceeds from the gala will be used to acquire Neotropical birds for the zoo's recently opened aviary.

"Neotropical birds come from Central and South America," Newmeyer said. "They're not cheap. These birds can cost $400 to $500 each."

The zoo hopes to triple the population and variety of its aviary residents, which now number 23 birds representing 10 species.

Among the zoo supporters attending were Ann Bennett, event co-chairwoman, and her husband, Mark; Zee Allred; Mike and Susan Cannon; Chris and Kathleen Edman; Curtis and Cathy Farrell; Peggy Goldwater Clay; Ronald and Joyce Glazier; Tri and Mary Ann McDonald; Tina Loza; Gene and Pat Johns; Louis Knappenberger; Drew and Linda Napolin; Tom Newmeyer; and John and Anne Wortmann.

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