Houston Zoo’s Centennial Ball Is Smashing Success
By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Daniel Ortiz
THE SETTING: A record-breaking crowd of more than 700 Houstonians dressed in black tie, gowns, and glamour joined together for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of 100 years of the Houston Zoo. Guests met and mingled among live animals, including a North American porcupine, a tarantula, and an American alligator, before entering the tented Masihara Pavilion, which had been turned into a gorgeous and elegant al fresco ballroom. City Kitchen served a delectable, multi-course dinner, which was followed by a spirited live auction.
THE STYLE: The evening was filled with sentiment and animal love as Houston Zoo President and CEO Lee Ehmke expressed how truly remarkable it was for the Houston Zoo to reach its centennial anniversary and, above all, to celebrate the momentous occasion with the zoo’s closest friends and supporters. He honored Kathrine McGovern for always seeing the Zoo’s potential and turning dreams into reality. He emphasized how the smiles and laughter of Zoo visitors, especially children, are a powerful reminder that her generosity will bring joy and inspiration for generations to come. The after party was chaired by Chita and Lane Craft, with the Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra keeping revelers dancing past midnight.
THE PURPOSE: This year’s sold-out event, hosted by co-chairs Kelli and John Weinzierl and Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, and honoring Kathrine McGovern, raised $2.3 million to support the Houston Zoo. Highlights of the live auction included naming rights for the Zoo’s Galapagos tortoise, which sold twice for $47,000 after a lively bidding war.