Conservation, Chefs and Cuisine to Bring Out Thousands for ZooFari 2010 at the National Zoo

Don’t miss what has become a spring tradition and one of the premier culinary events in Washington, D.C.: ZooFari! Taking place at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on May 20 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and hosted by the Friends of the National Zoo, ZooFari 2010 – “A Panda Bear Affair” – will bring together more than 100 of the D.C. Metro area’s finest restaurants, 15 wineries, live entertainment and thousands of hungry guests supporting animal research and conservation.

“The lovely outdoor Zoo setting, incredible line-up of local restaurants and wineries coupled with the underlining theme of saving endangered animals sets ZooFari apart from other fundraisers,” said Bob Lamb, executive director of FONZ.

ZooFari 2010, themed “A Panda Bear Affair” in celebration of the Zoo’s commitment to giant pandas, gives guests a chance to mingle with top chefs like RJ Cooper from Vidalia, Michel Richard from Citronelle and sample their incredible restaurant offerings. Top Chef contestant and Zaytinya chef Mike Isabella is also participating in this year’s event, while Food Network celebrity Duff Goldman, star of Ace of Cakes and owner of Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes, will judge teams of local pastry artists creating Zoo-themed cakes.

ZooFari will also feature a variety of musical acts performing jazz, R&B and rock, including the James Bjork Trio, the Steve Scott Project, and Stone/Wright. Guests can participate in a silent auction for a chance to take home treasures ranging from animal-created artwork and fine wines, to behind-the-scenes tours of the Zoo and vacation getaways. In addition, the Zoo is hosting an online auction from April 26 through May 16 on Bidders can choose from more than 150 spectacular items including field research with Zoo scientists, cooking classes and sports tickets and memorabilia.

ZooFari raises critical dollars to support many Zoo initiatives from new and improved exhibits to conservation and research programs dedicated to the survival of giant pandas, Asian elephants, tigers, and other endangered animals.

Tickets for ZooFari range in levels and prices, and can be bought individually or by table. For more information and purchase tickets, visit FONZ online or call FONZ at (202) 633-3034. The event takes place rain or shine.

ZooFari 2010 is sponsored by American Airlines, Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast, Chevy Chase Bank, The Coca‑Cola Company, Fujifilm, GEICO, MIX 107.3 FM, NBC 4, Rosenthal Jaguar/Land Rover of Tysons Corner, Chantilly, Va. and Bethesda, Md., Mix 107.3 – WRQX, 105.9 THE EDGE, and 630 WMAL.