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May 5,2001 - The Beginning

Our first fundraiser - this would determine the fate of EARS. Would people share the interests and and affection we had for elephants? Would they enjoy spending an evening with them and help us come up with the money to support them for the rest or their lives? And most important of all, would they come again next year, and the year after, and the year after...??? THEY DID. THEY DO. And we can’t thank them enough. This event raised enough money for us to adopt Butch and Buffy, move them to California and begin their life of retirement on the Vision Quest Ranch.

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Long time animal hero to many and host of Mutual of Omaha’s -Wild Kingdom, Jim fowler was our guest of honor this evening.

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Our Front lawn turned tent for the event that evening.

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A very emotional moment when Buffy made her entrance into the tent to receive a group blessing from the guests, orchestrated by Fr. Jerry. Judging from her existance today, it must have worked for she is one happy healthy elephant!!!

After Jim adressed the crowed and our presentation explained our plight, the live auction did just what we needed it to do (thanks to the GENEROUS donations of many, “showed us the money”.

May 11,2002

Our 2001 event did the two most important thing it needed to do, raised enough money to take care of the elephants and bring the people back the following year. Second year on the lawn under a spacious heated tent but this year, a decision was made to bring in a celebrity guest that was more fitting to the event, an animal celebrity and at that time, few animals were more famous than “Taco”.

Taco, the Taco Bell commercial dog made a spectacular entrance from his limo that pulled up to the entrance.

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Jack Peterson and Shelly Hayes from the KWAV radio morning show help orchestrate the evening.

Local TV celebrities and news anchors Dan Green and Kate Callaghan hosted the evening (Yes, they are colleagues but the are also husband and wife.) Love was in the air...

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A beautiful work of art donated by famed artist, Lynn Lupetti has become a tradition to our event and a blessing to our live auction.

It just wouldn’t be an EARS fundraiser with out bringing an elephant into the tent. This year, Butch did the honors.

Fr. Jerry’s blessing for the evening is yet another tradition we hope to never have to miss.

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Taco with EARS director and Vision Quest Ranch Owner, Charlie Sammut along with his staff who volunteer their time to any and all efforts of EARS. Special thanks to Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife for loaning us Taco for the evening.

May 2003

Year 3. We seem to be getting the hang of this and in keeping with our way of doing things, our only goal is to make it better than the last year! That was made possible with the extremely generous donations and help of several key people. John Madden offered us his studio in Pleasanton to produce our video presentation which made the quality of that effort multiply by 10! We actually had people asking to purchase copies of it. Next, was the HUGE donation by Ken and Dave Beck from Paul T. Beck Contractors who felt our event outgrew our front lawn and offered to build us an event site on the upper level of the property. WOW. What could we say.  SURE!!!

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Special awards are given to those who help us throughout the year with the needs of our elephants as did Cathy and Rowland from Rowland Electric who’ve donated ALL the electrical needs for our elephants since we’ve had them.

Our celebrity guest for the evening was none other than that famous little terrier from the hit TV show FRAZIER - Eddy thanks to the gracious donation by his owner’s company, Birds & Animals Unltd. Eddy with EARS director and Vision Quest Ranch Owner, Charlie Sammut along with his staff.

Dan Green from KSBW TV with Eddy - our two celeb’s for the evening.

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Our SPECTACULAR new event site! THANK-YOU Ken and Dave!

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“Buffy” visits with guests during the cocktail reception.

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Live music is alway a plus at our events...

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...and of course with music comes dancing...

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Inside the dining area of our tent this evening

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Dan Green from KSBW has also become a tradition to our event as our host and comedian - show here having a balding competition with KWAV Radio’s Jack Peterson..

DaveBlasko, Director of Animals from Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo  California accepts an award for his tremendous help throughout the year on our elephants.

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Hec, this year let’s bring ALL 3 elephants into the tents!!!

May 2004

Topping last year is getting more and more difficult as years go on but WE DID IT, this time thanks to a spectacular donation by local Aerobatic Champion Pilot and personal friend to EARS directors, Mr. Wayne Handley. Wayne coordinated and donated our very own “Air Show” above the event site this year. Six acts choreographed to music and narrated just like an international airshow. WHAT A PERFORMANCE AND WHAT A TREAT TO OUR GUESTS THIS YEAR.

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In sticking with the Airshow theme and thanks to a great donation by EARS supporter Gary Kreeger, all volunteers were dressed in REAL military flight suits for the evening.


Rob Dicely from Leopards Etc. makes a surprise entrance with Kjosi, a VERY rare King Cheetah which we hope to have visit every year.

Wayne Handley (right) narrating the airshow for the evening. Jim Cheatham’s helicopter team (below) doing their demonstration for the crowd.

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Yes, of course an elephant came into the tent. Tradition - remember?

It’s not all elephants, there are MANY exotic animals visiting the tent during our events, some our guests can get very up-close and personal with.

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Our new event site still looking spectacular as always!!!

There is no way to express our thanks to all the many companies and individuals who helped us accomplish our goals with Butch and Buffy. A simple thank you doesn't seem to cut it. We welcome all to visit our facility and meet Buffy. She has a way of saying , " thank you, you did the right thing and I'll never forget what you did for me". All of us here at E.A.R.S. will never forget you either!

 MAY 14th, 2005 was the date of our 5th Anniversary 2005 gala. Here are some photos from this year’s event...

If you have never attended one of these events, you're missing an event like no other you've attended. Click Here for an idea of what the past years events were like then feel free to contact us at any time to be added to the list to receive an invitation to our next event.

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In keeping with tradition, our elephant “Lisa” greeted everyone upon their arrival,

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It’s not entirely about elephants - many other animals were present to help the cause... “Dominic” the miniature donkey was on hand opposite our elephant to represent the democratic influence ...

It’s always an interesting evening when we mix beautiful woman in formal gowns with rough and ready elephants but we feel the two come together well.

EARS volunteer, Zandra Kelley with “Lisa” (right)

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Some arrived at the event in style - it really is fun having friends with helicopters like donors, Ken and Gabrielle Adelman.

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Inside the the tent was a warm, fun, relaxing decor - compliments of EARS volunteer Terry Sammut and her wonderful staff of helpers. Great Job Terry & Co.! We can’t thank you enough.

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Special thanks to “A Balloon on the Horizon” for their touch to the decor that evening... Give Dave a call for your balloon needs (831)899-2828

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Special guests this evening included Shari Belafonte-right. Shari is better known as Aunt Shari to EARS volunteer coordinator Rachel Blue.   Shari is joined by  EARS director Charlie Sammut with “KB” (middle) and his mother, Tina Sammut (left).

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Also stopping by for a “bite” was “S.J. Sharkie”, the San Jose Sharks Hockey team mascot seen left “chumming” it up with our host and KSBW TV News anchor, Mr. Dan Green and EARS volunteer Maia Davidson. EARS President, Ken Beck (right) learned not to mess with sharks!

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A very special thanks to Donna Martin from Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife for bringing a baby orangutan “ROCKY” to meet our guests. This was a first and once in a lifetime opportunity for many of our guests this evening.

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left to right : EARS donors Tony and Tina Sammut - star of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and EARS Advisor,  Mr. Jim Fowler - EARS Director Charlie Sammut and EARS volunteer Terry Sammut.

Jim Fowler joined us for our very first EARS fundraiser in 2001 so it seemed only fitting that he be there to help us celebrate our 5 year anniversary. We look forward to seeing Jim at our 10 year anniversary also. We sincerely thank him for all he does for EARS and for all animals.

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The attire for the volunteer staff this evening (as chosen by our volunteer coordinators, Rachel & Aja, was tuxedos. Rachel managed to get them all donated from After Hours Formal Wear Co. We thank them for helping add to the class of our evening and caring about elephants.

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The evening is all about raising money to help EARS support it’s elephant population and continue educating the public about the value of these magnificent animals. We simply could not do it without the generous donations from many to include famous Carmel artist Lynn Lupetti and her husband Ed Lohmann (left). They donated a truly one of a kind giclee embellished by Lynn to make it a part giclee, part original Lynn Lupetti. Those who know art know the value and generosity Lynn and Ed shared with us.

Another artist we are forever indebted to is sculptor J.A. Pippett who sculpted this beautiful second part to his EARS collection. This piece is of our very own “Josef”, probably the most famous animal at the Wild Things facility that EARS shares the Vision Quest Ranch with. The piece was  finished just in time to have the “original clay” carefully displayed that evening. It went from the fundraiser to the foundry to be cast in bronze and placed upon a marble base. For more information on how you can have one of these beautiful bronzes yourself, please visit our gift shop  for more information. 

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Anyone who knows fundraising knows that there is usually on person on which the success of the event hinges upon. EARS director and founder is one of those people. Heather’s work with EARS is 24/7 for she not only coordinates these events, she cares for the elephants. In short, no Heather, no EARS.

Heather brings two other key ingredients to the mix - her mother, Nancy and step father Gary who volunteer to make our event a success. It’s all about family - just like the elephants!

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The final ingredients for a successful fundraiser - the 2005 volunteers of EARS.

We could fill a web page with a list of all the donors, contributors, and special friends of EARS who help us make our event a HUGE success and/or who help us keep our elephants happy and healthy. We thank these people immensely for we call upon them time and time again. If we forgot to mention you or your company at the event in the midst of the confusion and ambitious schedule, we humbly apologize and ask that you remind us for next year. We really do appreciate the input and want no-one to feel unappreciated.

We’ve never received more compliments about one of our fundraisers than we did for this one and we are already setting plans in motion to make next year’s event even better. So if you want to help us help elephants and enjoy an evening like no other, please give us a call to make sure you’re on our mailing list or keep checking back to our web-site for notice of the date for next year’s event.


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 MAY 20th, 2006 was the date of our 6th annual EARS Fundraiser and this year, our plan to introduce the Pink Elephant Lounge was a huge success!!!

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Special thanks to Meredith Crews for lending us her pink Caddy for our decor.

It all started with a sold out house! Over 300 people.

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Outside, Butch greets our guests as they arrive.

Inside, the decorations and ambiance were award winning thanks to the TREMENDOUS efforts and donations of the EARS volunteers. Special thanks to Tina Sammut for the many gorgeous donations!

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It is extremely worthy of mention that everything used to decorate our Pink Elephant Lounge is hand made or donated by EARS volunteers and donors. No money comes out of the funds for the elephants to accomplish this task.

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Our art collection donated by our artist donors this year was our best yet with an accumulative value of over $75,000.00!

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And then of course there was GAMBLING!!!

Casino Style...

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... and Wild Things Style!

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(above) “Lisa” spins an elephant size Wheel of Fortune built and donated by EARS director Kenny Beck and (rt) “Forest pulls Bingo Balls while the ferret racing was underway.

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(Rt) EARS volunteer Cassie Ley traveled all the way from Florida to help with the event.

You never know who you’re gonna meet at an EARS event.


(lft) “Earl” the elephant with EARS donor, Tina Sammut.

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(above) The music of Tommy Munoz Jr. singing Sinatra was the final and perfect touch. (Call us for more info on Tommy) and how to get him for your event.

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Auctioneer, Carla Gianolini demonstrates the value of an outstanding auctioneer not to mention a beautiful one!!! (Contact EARS for more info on how to get Carla for your event - you won’t regret it!)

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The EARS 2006 Volunteers

The Key Success:

The many volunteers of EARS that come together to make this one evening, once a year, the best it can possibly be.

The Bottom Line:

Our goal of $60,000.00 was not only met this year, it was passed for a grand total of $75,000.00 raised this evening. We can’t thank the many who attended this year’s event and contributed to this success story. We hope you enjoyed yourself enough to join us again next year. As always, we are already planning ways to make it even better!!!

MAY 19th, 2007 marked the date of our 7th annual EARS Fundraiser and this year, back by very popoular demand, we enjoyed a Hawiian Luau at our very own  Pink Elephant Lounge !!!

Are you on our mailing list for an invitation? Want to be sure? Call us at (831)455-3180

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As always, there’s one key reason the EARS Annual Gala is as successful as it is every year, the volunteers! The EARS board of Directors and the elephants can’t thank them enough! 

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Another real special ingredient this year was the arrival of our very OWN, brand new, 10,000 Sq.Ft. event tent. Thanks to the extremely generous help from our donors at Paul T. Beck Contractors, Salinas Awning and Tony Sammut Development, this should be one head-ache we never have to deal with again for future events. Interested in using this event venue for your special event, fundraiser, wedding or meeting??? Click here to learn how you can do just that...

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Of course, an award winning Martini Bar donated by our very special friends and donors at Hullabaloos Restaurant contributes to the fun also!

Chef Todd Fisher and his partner Will Reynolds from Hullaballoos  were both on hand this evening to oversee the incredible meal they donated to our guests.

Left to right: Monterey’s Chef  Tene Shake with EARS director Charlie Sammut and Chef Todd. With friends like this, staying thin is not an option!

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The Shake family has always been a very close and personal relationship with EARS director Charlie Sammut. Their love and respect for animals has always prompted them to embrace and support the efforts of EARS. We hope all will show Chris, Tene, and JR how much we appreciate that support by visiting their spectacular restaurants in Monterey and telling them that you know what they do for our elephants. Check our our “Friends” page for links to those restaurants.

Left to Right: Chris Shake, Tene Shake, “Butch”, Charlie Sammut and JR Shake.

And what’s a party without music ~ this year provided by the very talented Ho’omana Hawaian Band. They were a PERFECT fit. The calls are still coming in from guests who want to know how to get ahold of this folks!

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Special guests included Peter Gros from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom seen left with Buffy and EARS Director, Charlie Sammut.

This makes seven years that Monterey’s renown artist, Lynn Lupetti (left) has donated her special gifts to our elephants. Part of this year’s gift was a special print of our beloved, Lisa, purchased by EARS Director, Suzi Greenberg. 

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Are you interested in one of these extremely limited and special prints? Go to our EARS Gift Shop to learn about how you can have one before they are completely sold out.

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He’s always there but he never gets credit for he’s always the one taking the photos so he’s never in any of them. Well, this year we correct that. Special thanks to Pep Jimenez of Pep Jimenez Photography and his lovely bride for being there every year to help us raise funds for our elephants.

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And nothing goes to waste ~ as demonstrated by EARS volunteer, Paul Waford , making sure the last of the incredible martini mix is put to good use.

Worry not, it’s along about 1am when this photo was taken and the EARS volunteers are all celebrating another very successful event. After that, they all “WALK” down to the ranch where we sleep until clean-up time in a few hours.

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A Masquerade Ball at the Pink Elephant Lounge  ~ May 2008

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Above: Once again the entrance to our “Pink Elephant Lounge is adorned with a beautiful pink Caddy compliments of EARS donor Meredith Crews.

Lft.: Our very own “Earl” the elephant goes masquerade with EARS donor Rachel Blue 

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Never has the interior of the Lounge looked so beautiful, thanks to the many EARS donors and volunteers as well as the efforts our new special donor, Hyatt Regency Monterey.

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Hyatt also brought us Regency Catering which turned our temporary kitchen into a something its never been before!

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What better place for a family reunion than our event this evening.

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Above Left to Right: EARS Volunteer  Jason Miller, Dr. Murray Fowler and EARS Director, Steve Johnson

Dr. Murray Fowler was a very special guest to many that evening. Dr. Fowler has authored and co-authored many papers and books that are used to today in veterinary colleges across the country about the health and well being of elephants.

To many animal professionals, he is a legend in veterinary medicine and it was an honor to have him join us this evening.

The live music donated by Yvette Nsinnlyyah Link was the perfect ambiance to the event.

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Special thanks to EARS donors Mike Borg and Mike Eremeyeff for helping put together this incredible 1/18 scale hay sale display. It worked guys!!!

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Of course we had the typical casino games to entertain our guests...

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... as well as some not so typical casino games... EARS director, Vickey Overstreet and Wild Thing’s monkey, Forrest, did their part in keeping the “monkey bingo” going. 

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Ferret Racing is always a crowd pleaser ~ a real noisy one!!!

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And of course, Butch spun his elephant sized Wheel of Fortune throughout the reception..

...when he wasn’t too busy posing for all the pretty girls ~ and there were a BUNCH of them at this event!!!.

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(left to right) Mark, Mandy, Bart and Wendy sell very special raffle tickets that allowed one lucky winner that evening to remove ANY live auction item them wanted from the menu.

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Sabu Shake Jr. (left) and his lovely wife won the raffle and generously donated the item back to the live auction to generate more income for the elephants. Those who know Sabu and the Shake family are all too familiar with that generosity.

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A VERY SPECIAL thanks to Mr and Mrs JimVanderzwaan (left of EARS director Charlie Sammut and Butch) from KSBW Television for being our Master of Ceremonies this evening. We hope to make it a tradition.

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Announcing the dinner menu from atop of an elephant was both a FIRST for Hyatt Regency Monterey’s Executive Chef, Mark Ayers and the guests at the Pink Elephant Lounge but again we hope to make it yet another tradition at this annual event.

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A very special thanks to radio celebrity Bill Kelly of Mix 106.5 and KSBY’s (as well as EARS director)Michele Allen  for helping keep the evening moving along on its very busy schedule.

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Another first for EARS was the very unique entertainment provided by Gregangelo  & Veloocity Circus.

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(left)EARS directors Heather Greaux and Charlie Sammut recognize some very EARS special donors/award recipients with the help of Charlie’s daughter, Briana Sammut (below) 

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Yet another EARS tradition ~ having the most beautiful auctioneer on the planet thanks to the incredible talents of Carla Harrison. Anyone interested in Carla’s incredible talents for their event should contact us at EARS for her information.   

(below) EARS donor, Tony Sammut enjoys the wrath of Carla during the live auction.

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Chefs Tene Shake and Mark Ayers are brought center stage to battle it out during their very special donated dinner evening for our auction. This auction item had the entire audience cheering. 

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Our 2009 Gala

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BECAUSE IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE MANY WHO HAVE ATTENDED ONE OF THESE EVENTS IN THE PAST, YOU KNOW THAT OUR GALAS ARE UNLIKE ANY OTHER AND WE’VE PULLED OUT ALL THE BIG GUNS FOR THIS ONE!!! OUR EVENT THIS YEAR IS was on  MAY 16TH and was without a doubt, a record breaking good time for all who attended!!! For information on attending our next one, be sure to contact the EARS office at 831)455-2447

Special thanks to some of our 2009 event Food sponsors

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Official Wine Sponsors

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Please click here to recognize and learn about our many other sponsors who make our event the success it is so well known for.


Well, the photos are still trickling in but this was by far one of our favorites for it sums up how we get it done and why it gets done so well. These are the incredible volunteers and caretakers of EARs who join together one evening every year to convince over 300 guests that they are really professional party coordinators, decorators, hosts and hostesses. They do that good a job and we could not be more proud to call them our friends.

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What’s a Hoe Down without cattle, and EARS director Kenny Beck and wife Kristy stand proudly with one of our more special bovine residents, “Elmo”, a miniature zebu joining us for the evening.

Our host and hostess, Jim and Jeri Vanderzwaan are becoming a tradition we hope will carry on for many year’s to come. They give our event the hometown flavor we our guests compliment us on.

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What can we say,,, the decision to bring in the “mechanical bull” was a tough one but choosing the photos to grace our website of the beautiful cowgirls who chose to ride it was even more difficult. WOW!!!

Robin Mavrides(left) and Wendy Walker (below) made this event a true spectator sport this evening.

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A very special thanks to Meredith Crews for the use of her VERY special Pink Caddy that has adorned the walls or our tent so many times.

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(Lft)Yet another EARS tradition, Chef Mark Ayers addresses the crowd from atop “Butch” to anounce the evening’s menu so generously donated by Hyatt Regency, Monterey.

(Rt) Mark Bastis, Gen. Mrg. of Hyatt Regency Monterey is recognized for his valuable support of EARS. We could not do this event without him.


(Rt) A special tribute to the Shake family for all their support and generous donations to the elephants of EARS.


(Lft) A special moment between father and son as Tony Sammut receives a specail award from son and EARS Director, Charlie Sammut for being one of EARS most generous donors ever.

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EARS volunteer Angela “Ferret” Dacus (lft), a valuable asset to the team.

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Our event WOULD NOT have been the same without the generous donation and talents of our special friends from Eventscapes...

Check them out for your event at www.eventscapesinc.com

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May 15th 2010 marked the date of our annual gala, a 10 year Anniversary for EARS and could not have been more successful with a RECORD BREAKING $100,000 raised this evening! Our gala’s see a different them each year. We strive to make them as fun and enjoyable as possible. Our guests raved about this one.

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 A very special thanks to our evening’s  sponsors,  we couldn’t support EARS without them!

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 Jim Vanderzwaan, KSBW Weather PLUS+ Lead Forecaster for KSBW TV Action News-8 was once again our MC along with his beautiful wife Jeri Vanderzwaan, a tradition we hope will carry on a very long time for EARS.

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“Somebody’s Hero”

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Vickey Overstreet (rt) was recognized for her dedication and generous donations to the animals of Wild Things.

Our goal this year was to recognize and reward a few EARS donors who we deemed “Somebody’s Hero”.

These folks were special in the eyes of the EARS Board of Directors for their generous contribution of their time, efforts and financial generosity towards EARS and other community organizatons.

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Frank Degnan is a personal friend and instructor  to EARS directors, Charlie and Heather Sammut. Frank donates his time and expertise to afford physically challenged individuals the opportunity to scuba dive, a program very dear to Charlie and Heather and deserving of the “Sombody’s Hero” Award.

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Carl and Charlotte Muia were credited for their contribution to EARS that made the adoption of our newest arrival, “Malaika”, possible.

Suzy and Bobby Greenberg enabled EARS to adopt “Kristy and Paula”, our second adoption. Their recognition for such was long overdue..

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Our new Special Event Structure was everything we hoped it would be and made even more enchanting with the decorative talents of Eventscapes ~ we can’t thank them enough.

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In ten years, we’ve never seen dancing like we saw this evening ~ we credit the band. If you’re looking for some authentic Italian music for your event, call us, we’ll hook you up with Anthony Lane and Mike Marotta Jr.. You won’t regret it!

“Earl” the elephant (left) was once again in rare form also on the dance floor this year.

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The volunteers of EARS, the heartbeat of our event. Special thanks to the volunteers of EARS, Wild Things, Oxton Kennels and Vision Quest Ranch.

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And then of course there’s the best part of the evening, the elephants and you don’t get any closer to one than at this event for the directors of EARS truly believe that the best way to solicit support for elephants is to let people meet them.

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 The May 14th 2011 11th annual EARS gala TOPPED 2011’s phenomenal success!!! It just gets better and better and better...

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This year our theme was

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 A very special thanks to our evening’s  sponsors,  we couldn’t support EARS without them!

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We simply COULD NOT be more proud of our decor this year, ALL hand made and accomplished by the volunteers of EARS so that ALL DONATIONS could go directly to the elephants.

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River Road Wineries contributed greatly to our bottom line $$$ with their annual donation of a barrel of Monterey County’s finest wines in our “Barrel of Monkies/Wine” raffle. The room took on an EXQUISITE chair coverings thanks to EARS donor, Enza Aliotti (below) of Formal Creations. PLEASE, don’t hesitate to call us for Enza’s information, we can’t recommend her strongly enough.

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Enza Aliotti  of Formal Creations (rt)

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Our volunteers for the evening and as usual, we couldn’t have done it without them.

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 Keeping our theme in mind, Earl our elephant mascot was joined by the CSUMB Otter Mascot, a friendly treat and photo op for all.

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 If we took your photo with the mascots, be sure to email us at elephantears.org so we can send you a digital copy of your photo...

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 And the best decor of course was outside the entrance to the party, the elephants.

“Butch” & Buffy” meet & greet our guests.

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 Special thanks to Pep Jimenez Photography for the great photography this evening and giving so many people a memory to take home with them.

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Jim and Jeri & Buffy

 Our Master of Ceremonies again this evening was Mr. Jim Vanderzwaan of KSBW TV seen left with his lovely wife, Jeri. Jim teamed up with our favorite auctioneer in the world, Carla Harrison and together, THEY DID EARS RIGHT making our live auction a huge success, both financially and entertainment wise. They are a HUGE ingredient to the success of this event and we simply can not thank them enough.

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 There’s nothing more rewarding to us (short of $$$) than the smiling faces of people enjoying the evening. There were many this year.

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“Friends of Friends”

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Lots of love in the room  ~ Dan  Fastuca & Charlie (above)...                         ... and w/wife Tina (lft)

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Dave Gonzalez & wife, Jodi

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Ruth Yore & “Barkley” (above)

 Our main presentation this year honored five “SPECIAL FRIENDS” who came into the lives of our elephants in very unique ways. Dan Fastuca, a professional shred guitar player, and EARS director Charlie Sammut met at a Corvette banquet for both are Corvette enthusiasts. Dan is also a Koi Pond specialist who often solicits the expertise of long time friend Joey Acevedo and Dave Gonzalez of Southwest Polycoat to apply a very unique product on their ponds called Polycoat. VERY long story short, all (along with a donation from Specialty Products Inc.) came to the table to donate $20K worth of product, time and labor to give the elephants a secure rubber matting to sleep on at night.

Ruth Yore came into EARS director’s Charlie and Heather’s when she was forced to find a 

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Wendy, Bart & Jameson Walker

a home for her very special pet and friend, Barkley, a Green Wing MaCaw. Barkley had become a very special and personal pet to Charlie and Heather. Ruth owns Yore Fundraiser and Promotion and offered to print a coupon book to benefit the elephants of EARS. In doing so, the books are now being sold and when they’re all gone, will contribute tremendously to the efforts of EARS. You can help this effort by sending us a quick email at elephantears.org. and purchasing some books. The use of one of the over 100 coupons covers the costs allowng hunderds of $$$ in savings!!!

Lastly, Bart Walker owns Star Sanitation and was originally known to all as our “porta potty man”... Today, he’s the President of EARS but Bart has always been a huge donor to EARS, taking care of all our porta potty needs and MUCH more. And if that’s not enough, Bart brings his gorgeous wife Wendy into the mix who’s family has become one of EARS’ largest supporters. The presentation of Bart’s award this evening was made by a very special and surprise guest to Bart, his son Jameson who made a brief but awesome appearance. Tears were a flowin!!!  

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Once again, one of our largest contributions came from Hyatt Regency Monterey who donated our dinner for the evening and in keeping with EARS tradition, Hyatt Chef Russel Young (lft) entered the tent via “Buffy” to announce the menu in grand fashion. Karen Lauppe (rt), Hyatt’s Director of Catering & Convention Services has become a very personal and close friend to EARS. She and Hyatt General Manager, Mark Bastis receive the credit for Hyatt’s involvement with EARS.

Then, it was just more happy faces having fun and enjoying the magic of the evening.

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And then, what better way to wrap up the perfect evening than with a little dancing to the awesome music of Mr. Anthony Lane and Band ~ especially when our very own MC, Jim Vanderzwaan climbs on board the drums for a song or two.

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All in all, the reviews were flawless. The compliments were overwhelming. The results were an all time high for EARS at a time when we realize, money is tight but our friends and donors shined this evening making all the tremendous efforts of all very worth while for the elephants. A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to those who came back Sunday to help us break it all down and put it all away until next year. And for those who missed this year, we hope the photos above and below will stimulate your need to experience for yourself.


This event is the main source of support for the elephants of EARS and we take GREAT prided in its coordination. To receive an invitation to next year’s event, contact us at (831)455-1919 or email ears@elephantears.org . It does sell out fast so don’t be left out. Scroll down and check out the photos from this year and previous years and you’ll see why so many rush to get their tickets so long before the event. If you’ve never attended one of these galas, you’ll want to attend the next one ~ They really are unlike any other fundraising event you’ve ever attended! Award winning wine, fine food, the live music and ALLOT more! Live and silent auctions, no host bar, a special EARS presentation... all in the enchanting Vision Quest Ranch “very” special Event Site Facility, in the company of the EARS elephants and animals of Wild Things. This event truly is unlike any other!!! Our 2012 theme was “Pachyderm and Patriots” to introduce our all new program, “Our Heros’ Dreams ~ A Healing Safari”, a program we could not be more proud to be a part of.  Click here for more info on this program.

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 It is with great appreciation we thank our returning event sponsors for 2012.

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We take great pride in our themed decors at these Galas, all of which are done by ourselves at minimal cost therefore taking minimal donations away from the cause.

This year was no exception.

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Our silent auction tables were filled with incredibly valuable items thanks to the many donors who contributed to the event. Special thanks to the wineries that donated our half-barrel of wine for our raffle.

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And of course, where would we be without our volunteers, another aspect of EARS that we take great pride in. EARS has NO paid staff, we are all volunteers so once again, all the donations benefit the elephants.

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And of course the most important ingredient of all, the elephants. This event gives “an elephant in the room” a whole new meaning .

Our honored guests this evening included the chiefs of police from Monterey and Salinas as well as our Monterey County Sheriff and a Lt. from the USCG

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(Lft to Rt) Mtry. Co. Sheriff Scott Miller ~ Acting Salinas Chief of Police, Cassie McSorley, “Buffy”, EARS Director, Charlie Sammut, USCG LT. Ron Kooper and  Mtry. Chief of Police, Philip Penko

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Our theme this year was deserving of a special Honor Guard ceremony provided by the USCG Cadets and very much appreciated by all.

 Other honored guests this evening to whom our event was dedicated included Sgt. Justin Bond US Army Ret. and founder of OUR HEROES DREAMS as well as US Coastguardsman Ret. Dave Riley.

Both were present to introduce our audience to our new “Healing Safari” program which we hope all will click here to learn more about.

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Jim Vanderzwaan from KSBW-8 was our MC for the evening bringing the entire event the home town comfort our donors have become so appreciative of.

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Both entered the room in grand fashion, EARS fashion, a surprise to all who welcomed these American heroes with a standing ovation.

Dave and Justin had their own special surprise for EARS director, Charlie Sammut making him an honorary Sgt. in the OUR HEROES DREAMS program.

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Nothing more clearly depicts the success of an event or the tone of the evening than the smiling faces of the many who attended. Our response to this years’ event by our guests was by far our most overwhelming yet.

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These people mean the world to our organization and our elephants. We can’t thank them enough for supporting the efforts of EARS.

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In the end, our auction winners were ecstatic to not only win their auction items but to meet the world renown artist that created them.

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Artist, Andre Balyon poses with auction winners of his prints, “Out of Africa” depicting our very own elephants of EARS.

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And the evening ended with our traditional live music and dancing by all, the perfect end to a perfect evening.

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Music provided by the Mike Moratta Band assisted in part by our very own MC, Jim Vanderzwaan.

May 18th, 2013 was the date of our Annual Fundraising Gala at the “Pink Elephant Lounge” on the Vision Quest Ranch. Our theme this year was Safari and we went all out.

We hope the photos below will fully describe the incredible time that was had by all and entice you to contact EARS for an invitation to our 2014 GALA. We’re already working on it and its gonna be BIG!!!

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Our decor is always a highlight of the evenings to our guests who have come expect more and more each year. This year, they just got that. More people than ever told us, “this was by far your best!!!”

We started building props, tike bars, gazebos, and hand painted wood animal cut-outs in January as well as sewing table coverings, banners, chair sashes and more. It was a true labor of love that was made very worth while by the response of our guests.

It was totally safari, floor to ceiling and next year, we’re already thinking of ways to make it even better.

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Our half barrel of wine auction was a big hit (left)

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Our art auction was our best in years with contributions from some of the greatest artist in the country.

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Donor and Turf Club owner, Shahram Farahmand with fellow chefs. We can’t thank Shahram enough for his kind and generous donation. In keeping with tradition, Shahram rode in on Buffy to announce the evening’s menu to our guests.

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Our Cast and Crew of volunteers for the evening ~ We couldn’t do it without them ~ a great time was had by all.

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Our band was the “Afro Groove Connection” and the reviews were outstanding. We would recommend them to anyone. You’ll no doubt see them at another EARS event!

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EARS elephant Buffy, greeted guests outside the door for their first photo op...

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...while ”Earl” the elephant met our guests at the door for their second photo op.

After all, can you ever have too much elephant???!!!

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We’re not sure why but ”Butch” had a way with the ladies this evening!!!

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EARS veterinarian, Jim Hay and wife Gayle (left)

EARS printer Steve Poudrier and family (right)

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Heather Greaux sporting “Scully” the serval during the live auction.

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As usual, it simply can’t happen without volunteers and once again, ours got it done!

 A “Jamaican SAFARI”  IN 2014

If you’ve never attended one of these events, you won’t want to miss the next one.

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Our Mascot, “Earl the Elephant” met all at the door with a traditional EARS welcome.


Some argued that it was the most colorful and fun decor yet...

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Butch of course entertained guests at the bar...


...while “Moksha” wowed all with a special appearance during the live auction.

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Steel Drums kept the beat of the Jamaican spirit throughout the evening!!!

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...while Carla Harrison and Jim Vanderzwaan worked their magic during our live auction.

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Special guest, Olando Robinson of the Hope Zoo in Jamaica shared the spotlight with Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter and Monterey County Sheriff, Scott Miller .

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Be sure to check out our EARS & GEARS Family Day and Car shows & Family Days...Click here for more info...

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Our 2011 SAFARI SPECTACULAR and EARS & GEARS CAR Show made the day & night another one of a kind event for EARS and Monterey County. Click here to see just a few photos of this year’s event.

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Click here to check out even more photos from our previous year’s events...

Other ways to support EARS

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Our LISA MEMORIAL BRICK program is designed and dedicated to funding Lisa’s legacy - the adoption of Paula & Kristi. The bricks can be purchased in memory of anyone or anything that meant as much to you as our beloved Lisa meant to us. They can be purchased to show your support of EARS or the support of your business or organization. We need to raise $180,000 to assure that Paula and Kristi will remain with Butch and Buffy at EARS. The sale of all the bricks in the path will do just that.

Space is limited and our goal is tremendous but we hope all will participate in the very worthwhile program. To down load a flyer on purchaing a brick, please click on the link below. For more information on Lisa and her memorial, please click here.

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In memory our beloved Lisa

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We really do need your help, now more than ever. You can help make a difference while at the same time commemorating a special friend in your life. Please click left to help us help these truly deserving and majestic animals. All funds from this project are dedicated to the adoption of Paula & Kristi.

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