Sunset Affair: Sparky Splash
Silent Auction Highlights

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Name Como Zoo’s New Baby Kudu
Value: Priceless
Donor: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Como Zoo welcomed a brand new baby kudu last week, a 14-pound female who’s bonding behind the scenes with mother Fjorda and father Bond before she makes her public debut later this summer. To celebrate her arrival, guests at Sunset Affair will be able to bid on the chance to choose a name for this adorable antelope, native to northeast Africa. To get your creative juices flowing, zookeeper Andrew Nerness says, “She has long legs, big ears, and is fiercely cute.”

Como Harbor and Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden Inspired Auction Items

Sea Lion Sculpture
Value: $120
Donor: Lynette and Bob Palmgren
Did you know that sea lions congregate in herds or rafts that can reach up to 1,500 individual animals? This charming small sculpture features six hand-carved sea lions, hauled out on a rugged piece of driftwood.

Octopus Package
Value: $88
Donor: Lynette and Bob Palmgren
Did you know a Giant Pacific octopus is about to take up residence in Como Zoo’s renovated Aquatics building? To celebrate, bid on this many-tentacled package for a fun day at the beach, including an Octopus-themed canvas tote, Tommy Bahama Beach Towel, Octopus Tumbler, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, and the book “The Soul of the Octopus.”

Adult Sparky Snacks
Value: $125
Donor: Susannah Baudhuin
Dive in to this elegant cocktail and comestibles tray, with treats inspired by Sparky the Sea Lion’s favorite food—gourmet salmon and sardines. Complete with gin and tonic fixings, crackers, and mixed nuts, colorful cocktail glasses and coasters complement a splash-proof galvanized tray.

Sparky Training Basket
Value: $125
Donor: Sherry Fonseth-Lais and Charlie Lais
Fun and educational, this “Sparky Training Basket” includes a plush Harbor Seal, a California Sea Lion, a fishing game, a feeding bucket filled with realistic (but non-stinky) fish, and a training clicker. There are also two children’s books: one is about Sea Lions and the other is called “Life at the Zoo,” which explains some behind the scenes activities to your future zookeeper or veterinarian.

Seals are Doggy Mermaids
Donor: Sherry Fonseth-Lais and Charlie Lais
This adorable package is perfect for any pinniped lover. Includes five (5) plush pinnipeds, representing three (3) species found at Como Zoo: the Harbor Seal, the Atlantic Gray Seal, and a “Sparky” California Sea Lion all cozied up in their doggy beds. Learn about the differences between seals and sea lions as you enjoy your new friends.

Harbor Seal Pendant and Pillow
Value: $66
Donor: Jill Sadler
This soft, stuffed Harbor Seal sleeping pillow is the spitting image of Como Zoo’s own Kash and Kilian! Combined with a charming pewter seal pendant on 18″ cotton black braided necklace, it’s the perfect package for celebrating the opening of Como Harbor.

Octopus and Olive Oil
Donor: Tim and Nicky Nagle
Como Zoo’s new giant Pacific octopus is the inspiration behind this olive oil set, featuring Frantoio Muraglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a ceramic container beautifully decorated by an Italian artist with an original octopus design.

Wild and Free Quilt
Donor: Jill Kielblock
Beautiful bedding for the future zookeeper in your life, this 65″x81″ twin-sized handmade quilt was crafted from Robert Kaufman’s Wild and Free fabric line. A one-of-a-kind quilt perfect for the young conservationist!

Abalone Jewelry
Value: $196
Donor: Kendra Scott
Born by the sea, the iridescent beauty of abalone shimmers in this luminous set of matching Tessa Drop Earrings and Tessa Multi-Strand Necklace.

Authentic Tea Set
Donor: Friend of Como
Like the simple, nature-inspired tea services used in the Japanese Garden Tea House, this celadon green porcelain set has a unique branch-like teapot handle. Take time for yourself and start a daily ritual of tea with this unique set including a tray, two cups, and teapot.

Please note, the handle on this item has been repaired. Although it has been nicely repaired, a hairline crack is barely visible upon close inspection. We recommend this teapot for display use over functional purposes.

Kinji Akagawa Carved Bowl
Value: Priceless
Donor: Mary Maguire Lerman
Renowned Tokyo-born, Minnesota sculptor Kinji Akagawa, winner of the 2007 McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist Award, created this extraordinary hand-carved river birch bowl (size is approximately 29”x20”). This priceless piece of nature and art is paired with a McKnight Distinguished Artist book, exploring Akagawa’s inspiration and work.

Origami Art
Value: Priceless
Donor: Mary Maguire Lerman
Created by artist Jane Rosemarin from a single sheet of origami paper, this delicate shadow box contains a flock of folded cranes in a delicate red and blue paper, mounted behind glass.

Ceramic Tea Set
Donor: Peter Paul Pottery
Embracing the “Mingei-sota” aesthetic, ceramic artist Peter Paul seeks to merge traditional Japanese influences with contemporary American utility. This special tea set, with mismatched cups in a complementary glaze, captures the “wabi-sabi” spirit that finds beauty in the accidental and unplanned. Handmade in Minnesota, this stunning stoneware set is finished in an ash glaze.

Auction Program
Auction Overview

Sunset Affair features five Super Silent Auction packages and a vast catalog of fantastic silent auction items. See above highlights from this year’s auction and click on the link for the full program!

Here is How to Bid

For your convenience, you can bid on all our auction items using your computer, ipad or on your smartphone (Windows smartphones, newer Blackberry devices, all iPhones and most Android smartphones).

You don’t need to download an app. Just connect to the internet and type this friendly URL into the device you are using for online bidding: and you will be ready to bid.

Bidding on both the Super Silent and the Silent Auction items concludes at 8:30 p.m. Auction check-out will take place at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory on Saturday, July 17 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and Monday, July 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Auction winners will be emailed a link to sign up for a slot to pick up their items. 

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, cash or check will be accepted.

While you do not need to enter your credit card to view auction items online, you will need to enter a credit card to place a bid. Credit cards will be processed on Friday, July 16 in the morning. You are welcome to contact Como Friends if you would like to pay using a different method.

Thank You to Our 2021 Sponsors

Learn More

  • Como Friends at 15

    The nonprofit fundraising force at Como celebrates a new milestone

  • Sparky at 60

    Minnesota’s favorite sea lion is still making a splash

  • Jewel of Como

    Celebrating a century at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

  • Orangutan Conservation

    Keeper Megan Elder preserves orangutans near and far