Dining With Denise Neil

Party till the bears roar at Zoobilee

If ever there was a year to figure out how to afford the $150 ticket to Saturday’s Zoobilee, this is the year.

The event, a fundraiser for the Sedgwick County Zoo, is a big deal. It’s such a big deal that Zoobilee day is the only day of the entire year that the zoo is closed to regular visitors.Note the forky, spoony nature of this rare bear’s eyes.During Zoobilee, the grounds of the zoo are filled with tables of food and adult beverages, and attendees are free to roam and snack at will. The list of restaurants participating this year is long and includes places such as Cake Face Bake Shop, Carlos O’Kelly’s, Ciao Italian Kitchen, Il Vicino, P.F. Chang’s, River City Brewery and Wichita Brewing Company

As they nosh and imbibe, people can walk around the zoo, checking out the animals and all the short, animal-print dresses. Live bands are set up throughout the zoo as well, and later in the evening, the headliners take the main stage.

The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band was promoted this year to headliner status, and my friend Jaime — who is the drummer — is quite excited. They’ll play starting at 9:30.

I’ll be there with many of my favorite people. It all starts at 6 p.m. For tickets, visit the zoo’s website.