Zoo-A-Palooza to benefit Greenville Zoo


Last year's Zoo-A-Palooza attracted a large crowd to the Greenville Zoo.

Published: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.

The Greenville Zoo is closing early this Saturday Aug. 25 to prepare for the third annual Zoo-A-Palooza.

Zoo-A-Palooza is hosted by radio station B93.7, Pepsi and the Greenville Zoo to present a special acoustic performance on the Clear Talk Stage with local talent Kylie Hinze, rising star Austin Mahone and Chris Wallace formerly of The White Tie Affair.

The Zoo, which is next to Cleveland Park in downtown Greenville, opened in 1960 and is typically thought of as a small but thriving zoo. Portions of the proceeds raised from the event, however, will go to benefit operations and provide enrichment funds for the animals to make the Zoo even better.

According to Tias Schuster, the operations manager at WFBC/WSPA, this working relationship was established three years ago when B93.7 went looking for a venue for an acoustic concert.

“We want a real intimate feeling,” he says, “and to not upset the elephants!”

The event, which is aimed at a teenage fan base but is a family event, turned out to be a hit and last year had more than 2,000 visitors. Schuster says they expect there to attract 3,000 people this year, and much of that can be credited to Austin Mahone.

Schuster says Mahone, who is from Austin, Texas, is “the next Justin Bieber. The pop singer caught on last year with covers of popular songs that he posted to YouTube. By last fall he had been signed to a record deal, and now has two hit singles including ‘Say Somethin' ' which is in regular circulation on B93.7. Schuster warns that fans, who have been dubbed “Mahomies,” should start lining up at 3 p.m. as “this will be their last chance before Mahone plays the Bi-Lo Center.”

B93.7 is attempting to tap into what's popular with their audience at the moment, having conducted surveys and a meet and greet with Mahone that sold out in 15 minutes. At the same time, however, they want to accentuate the local scene with Hinze. The rising star just turned 15 years old but is already making waves, having opened for Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw at the Charter Amphitheater in her hometown of Simpsonville back in May.

Wallace, meanwhile, is the older of the three but has a similar pop rock sound. Formally the lead singer of The White Tie Affair, a Chicago based band formed in 2006, Wallace has gone solo since the band's announced breakup a few months ago. His first single, “Remember When (Push Rewind)” debuted over the summer.

There will be booths such as Kona Ice, Mimi's Cafe, Firehouse Subs, TCBY, Cake Notice, Tom's BBQ, and Poppington's Popcorn. Schuster wants to stress, however, that this isn't a festival but a concert and the emphasis will be on the music. After all, it's a unique opportunity to see the only concert in the Upstate at a zoo.

Tickets are on sale now for only $5 at www.b937online.com, and tickets can also be purchased at the gate on the day of Zoo-A-Palooza for $10.

Zoo parking is free.

The Zoo is located on East Washington Street, 3/10ths of a mile from Laurens Road/Highway 276. Admission to the zoo will end at 3:30 p.m. and the zoo will close at 4 p.m. to allow time for the staff to set up for the evening event. At 6 p.m., gates open for VIP ticket holders, and at 6:30 p.m. gates open for general admission. The event is over at 9 p.m., with the gates being closed at 9:30 p.m.

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