Attendees can ‘Return to Basecamp’ on Aug. 28 for nighttime event

Staff Report

The Santa Barbara Zoo’s iconic fundraiser Zoofari Ball makes its comeback with Zoofari Ball XXXV, 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Zoofari Ball guests experience after dark at the park, while supporting the preservation, conservation and enhancement of the natural world and its living treasures including all the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

The theme of Zoofari Ball XXXV is “Return to Basecamp,” reuniting supporters of the zoo. Attendees are encouraged to don safari-style gear and join the party on the hilltop. Rincon Events will serve up a spread back at camp, including sunset cocktails, and music under the stars. All guests must be 21 or older.

“If there’s one thing for sure we can say about this past year, it’s been wild,” said Rich Block, Santa Barbara Zoo CEO. “We’re looking forward to celebrating together in person finally, and also shining a light on the continued need for support to make up for what was lost due to the pandemic.

“We can’t wait to welcome you back to the hilltop for Santa Barbara’s biggest ‘fun-raiser’ of the year.” 

Despite being closed to the public twice for four months due to the pandemic, the zoo remained dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals, the safety of its employees that continued working on-site, and continued efforts to save local endangered and threatened wildlife.

The zoo’s closure created an abrupt and devastating interruption to its normal admissions-driven revenues. The unrealized revenues from the lack of attendance — no food and beverage or retail sales, no on-site education program fees, and no attraction or private and public event revenue — was greater than any revenue loss the zoo has experienced in its 57-year history.

Zoofari Ball XXXV is both a chance for the zoo to welcome supporters back for its signature event, and it will help raise needed funds to help the zoo recover financially.

The Zoofari Ball honorary chairs are Nancy and Ted McToldridge, and supported by a committee of local leaders including Marcy Bazzani, Ross Beardsley, Elaine Mah Best, Alexandra Bongiovanni, Christy Borneman, Deanna Buley, Vince Caballero, Wendy Campbell, Ashleigh Davis, Colleen Dennis, Mindy Denson, Jessica Fisher, Karen Gray, Patricia Griffin, Michael Hurst, Kim Kirkhart, Tracy Krainer, Marjorie Large, Desirea Lekhraj-Loftus, Katharine Mallin, Kirk A. Martin, Randee Martin, Sue McCue, Kevin Nuss, Robyn Parker, Jenna Perez, Pam Polan, Pam Powers, Elissa Rubin, Shelley Schulte, Heather Schuyler Gray, Amy Sloan, Betsy Turner and Shannon Vernon.

The zoo is looking for more Zoofari Ball sponsors. To learn more about sponsoring the event, contact Sam Franz at or call 805-679-8442.

This year’s Zoofari Ball XXXV sponsors include:

Diamond sponsors: Thomas and Nancy Crawford; The Dreier Family; Hutton Parker Foundation; Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree; Union Bank.

Platinum sponsors: Bella Vista Designs, Inc.; Mimi Michaelis; Robert K. and Barbara J. Straus Family Foundation; Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; Ventura Toyota; John Woodward.

Gold sponsors: Action Roofing and Action Energy; Arlington Financial Advisors; Jeffrey & Margo Baker Barbakow; City National Bank; The Dill Family; HUB International of California Insurance Services, Inc.; The Hurst Family; The Krainer Family; Ted and Nancy McToldridge; Montecito Bank & Trust; Mosher Foundation; Robert and Deborah Myman; Northern Trust; Rudi Schulte Family Foundation; Schipper Construction; U.S. Bank.

Silver sponsors: American Riviera Bank; In Loving Memory of Polly Blackburn; Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP; CopperPoint Insurance Companies; Cottage Children’s Medical Center; CSU Channel Islands; Damitz, Brooks, Nightingale, Turner & Morrisset; Gary Frolenko Engineering & Elissa Rubin; Giffin & Crane General Contractors, LLC; Patricia and Alan Griffin; Peter and Gerd Jordano; Stina Hans & Joel Kreiner; Jensen Audio & Visual; Wendy and Philip Kistler; La Cumbre Animal Hospital; Katharine Mallin; Robert and Elizabeth Manger; David and Maureen Morehouse; Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, LLP; Will and Pam Powers; Sol Wave Water; Tolman & Wiker Insurance; Shannon and Bradley Vernon; Sue and Bill Wagner; White Hat Innovation; The Wyatt Family.

Rock sponsors: President Erika Beck and California State University; Northridge Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management; The Angelo Mozilo Family; Alison Overseth and Ken deRegt.

For full details and tickets to Zoofari Ball XXXV, visit The zoo will adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines for the event.