Brookfield Zoo Gala Gets Dolphin Theme, Underwater Look

By Jenny Berg April 26, 2011, 11:15 AM EDT

Photo: Steve Becker Photography

Chicago Zoological Society's Whirl Fund-Raiser
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On April 16, the Brookfield Zoo hosted its largest annual fund-raiser. The Zoo Whirl, this year called “Whirl on the Shimmering Seas,” drew more than 700 guests and was inspired by the zoo's dolphins. Chair Kay M. Guyette oversaw the planning process with Vicki L. DeMar, president of the women's board. The event raked in about $1.3 million.

During the cocktail hour, guests snacked on Blue Plate hors d'oeuvres in the Seven Seas dolphin pavilion, where they watched mini training sessions. A separate, tented cocktail area had an underwater look replete with Frost's blue lighting and bars filled with illuminated glass stones.

The Flower Firm used deep blue and purple decor in the dinner tent to create an under-the-sea look, and overhead light fixtures resembled giant floating bubbles. The gift bag carried on the theme with a stuffed dolphin, sea salt from sponsor Morton, and a promotional message in a bottle from A. Marek Fine Jewelry, another sponsor.

Prepared for unseasonably cool temps—the forecast predicted snow—planners employed plenty of heaters within the HDO dinner tent, and lined the entrance with marquee tents. Trolleys were on hand to transport guests to and from the dolphin arena, saving them the chilly walk.

And despite the weather, the gala employed summery touches such as passed margaritas during the cocktail hour and takeaway popsicles, which servers handed out as guests waited for their cars.

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