event recap: Twilight at the Zoo at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

You know when you know you’re going to a really good party? And you know you’re probably going to run into a ton of people you know? And you say to yourself, “I have to remember to take pictures with everyone I see tonight!”… and then you get home to discover:

  1. It WAS just as good of a party as you anticipated – if not better.
  2. You ran into more people than you ever anticipated to see that night.
  3. You forgot to take those pictures you meant to take.

That was my evening at Twilight at the Zoo last Friday night. (And boy did I pay for it at the yoga studio on Saturday morning…)

After the NASA Social activities of the day, I made it down to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to attend this infamous summer music festival. Event organizers snagged 18 bands for the 2012 event, which were scattered all over the grounds of the Zoo. But after a day of outer space, I needed a beverage to ground me so I wound myself back to the VIP area where The Madison Crawl was greeting guests.

VIP access began at 6:00PM and by the time I arrived at 6:30PM, the place was already jammin’. While I knew they would be attending, I surprising found my Dad his girlfriend Tracy quite easily.  On my way to filling up my souvenir light-up Twilight cup, I practically ran into Jen from WhyCLE and her husband Matt. As they and other VIPs took advantage of the spread of food provided by AMP 150, Carrabba’s, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Mitchell’s Fish Market, I stuck with liquid calories by visiting the Vitamix table.

Unfortunately due to the extremely hot temperatures, their smoothies weren’t staying smoothies for long, but they still tasted great, no matter the consistency!

As I looked around the VIP area, I noticed friendly faces Vince from L’Nique Linens and Shannon & Julie from the Marriott Downtown Cleveland. While I have seen them this year at the Arthritis Foundation’s Silver Spoon Awards Party and at L’Nique’s awesome networking party, I was grateful to get to spend some time with these wonderful CLE event professionals at an event we weren’t working!

Before heading out of the VIP area for the evening, Jen, Matt and I chatted it up Chef Jeff Jarrett from AMP150 (at @chefjjjarrett and @AMP150Cleveland).

Their watermelon salad was a big hit, as was Jeff’s zucchini bread – a family recipe that he’s brought to the restaurant to share with all of us.

Midway through the night, we finally left the VIP area to check out the bands, but not before a quick photo op:

(photo c/o Jen – thank God someone remembered to use her Instagram that evening)

Here’s a piece of gossip for you: our boy Sam gets around! We counted 20-some sightings of commandeered Sam Adams cut outs roaming around the Zoo that evening!

As we wondered, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around to find an old friend, all the way back from grade school. It’s been awhile since I last saw Scott (@ScottieMonaco) whom was jamming out to the Journey tribute band. That’s the great thing about staying in your hometown – you run into old friends when you never expect it!

Our journey continued around the zoo, checking out bands, animals, Sam Adams beer trucks, concession stands.


One stage I made sure to find was the one for Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band.  Another friendly face – Lisa from Whole Foods Cedar Center (@wholefoodsuhts) was rocking out to some Bon Jovi classics. We did our best to have a conversation over the music, but knew we’d have to catch up at a later, quieter time.

As darkness took over, so did the glow sticks – a nice touch provided by the Zoo for the attendees. We closed out our night at the amphitheater where 1988 and Disco Inferno took turns on the stage. We heard the song “Brickhouse” for the third time – a sign that this party wasn’t close to coming to a close. The venue was packed with happy Clevelanders which I’m sure partied as long as the Zoo staff would let them that night!

LONG STORY SHORT: It was my first time attending Twilight, but it won’t be my last. Major kudos to the staff at the Zoo for throwing another fabulous special event.  The 2012 Twilight at the Zoo raised $560,000 for the Cleveland Zoological Society – think of all the great educational programming that can be done because of one night of fun!  Check out the Cleveland Zoo Society’s Facebook page to see more photos from the evening.

Interested in attending the next special event at the Zoo?  Tickets for Night at the Zoovies are on sale at the Zoo websiteOr check out Clue Into Cleveland for your chance to win a set to the August 24th event!

Disclosure: I was provided a media pass to the Twilight at the Zoo event. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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