Event brings an opportunity to support important venue.

Supporters of Lee Richardson Zoo soon will flock to the venue for yet another good reason.

Saturday evening will bring the popular "Wild Affair," an annual Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo fundraiser.

As in the past, the event will feature a cornucopia of good food from local and area restaurants, musical entertainment and silent and live auctions on the zoo grounds.

The cause this time around would be the zoo's next planned major improvement: a new primate exhibit.

And it's fitting that this year's "Wild Affair" has been dubbed "Jammin' wit da Jaguars," considering the nearing debut of Cat Canyon, an impressive new setting for the zoo's felines made possible by zoo-based fundraisers and other numerous contributions.

Cat Canyon was designed to create a more natural and roomier habitat for the jaguars, pumas and bobcats. The new environment, with a viewing building and windows for each species of cat, also promises to improve the experience for zoo visitors and should allow the zoo to add more cats.

The project was a good example of how public improvements can materialize when generous supporters invest in their community's future.

An attraction of such high quality as Lee Richardson Zoo must rely on public support to thrive. Volunteers, zoo staff, local government officials and patrons have helped the zoo become a first-class attraction one that would be outstanding in a community of any size.

Events throughout the year give patrons more reasons to appreciate all the zoo has to offer.

"Wild Affair" would be one such venture, with other notable gatherings in the recent "Blues at the Zoo" and a fun one for all ages in the "BOO! at the Zoo" Halloween celebration. The first-time Global Bazaar & Ten Thousand Villages Festival in June was another unique opportunity.

At an attraction that showcases an outstanding variety of animals, it's easy to see how such a vast array of entertaining and educational events would materialize. Each one brings more proof of how much local support has been at the heart of the zoo's success, making it one of the community's more worthwhile endeavors.