New event slated at zoo next week




Lee Richardson Zoo is gearing up to host a new event next weekend, a global bazaar featuring cultural arts, crafts, food, and other items sold by various vendors.

The Global Bazaar & Ten Thousand Villages Festival is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 22, in the Wild Asia parking lot at the zoo.

"We hope to develop it into a cultural event. This is the first year we're having it, so it will start pretty small," Brian Nelson, executive director of Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo, said.

Admission is free for pedestrians.

The event will feature items shipped in by the Ten Thousand Villages organization, a nonprofit fair trade group that markets products handmade by disadvantaged artisans in more than 35 countries.

Nelson said Ten Thousand Villages have stores in larger cities that are operated by volunteers. The booth next weekend will offer for sale about 400 pounds of merchandise made by people living in Third World countries.

"The money will be sent back to those villages, and a small percentage will be kept for Friends (Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo) for selling those goods," he said.

Some of the handmade items being shipped to Garden City for the event include bags, scarves, jewelry, furniture, baskets, table linens, plant and garden items, toys and other general items.

"These are people who don't have a lot of money. They make their crafts, and Ten Thousand Villages sells them in their stores or at festivals like ours, and then they send the money back to them," he said.

Other vendors will offer carnival type food such as funnel cakes, as well as merchandise like jewelry, antiques, wooden benches, bird baths and wind spinners to name a few. In the future, as the event grows, Nelson hopes it will draw more local vendors offering food and goods reflecting some of the ethnic groups in the area.

"As this grows ... we'd also like to bring in more cultural entertainment, like dances," Nelson said.

Booth spaces are still available at $50 per booth. Current FOLRZ members receive $10 off per booth space. Contact the FOLRZ for more details at 276-6243, or

The Global Bazaar is a benefit for FOLRZ, with funds raised going toward a new primate exhibit.

Nelson said the primate exhibit is the next big project for FOLRZ. Currently, the primate exhibit houses two spider monkeys and a lemur and is somewhat outdated and doesn't meet all the codes it needs to meet.

"It doesn't allow much sunlight in for those animals. We're drawing up some plans for it and hope to have them in soon," he said. "We don't have a dollar amount yet, but it would be a Cat Canyon-size project ranging anywhere from $600,000 to $1 million."

It will be a smaller primate exhibit, not large enough for larger primates like chimps or gorillas. Nelson said the exhibits for those types of primates are much more expensive.

The bazaar was created in order to add a fourth fundraising event during the year, Nelson said. But it also fits the global theme of the zoo.

"The zoo is divided into continents, and the animals are from a variety of different countries, so the idea was to play up those aspects with the culture from those continents," he said. "We wanted to have an international day. Hopefully, we'll do more with it if it develops in years to come."

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