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Beer Fest Offers Party

Lowry Park Zoo's 17th Annual Wazoo Beer Fest is on tap for Aug. 4.

Ranked a top 10 beer festival by USA Today, 's annual Wazoo fundraiser gives beer lovers a plethora of options and a way to combine their favorite beverage with a night of wild animals.

Last year, Wazoo included more than 250 beers from 70 different breweries worldwide. Visitors can also expect food from a number of area restaurants and live music from several bands. This year, the good times will flow into a special events area near the Love Garden to accommodate more guests and more tasting tables, more comfortably. The World of Beer Main Stage has relocated from the Zoo’s front entry plaza to this entertainment area to ensure a smoother flow of foot traffic during the event.

The number of beers has increased to 280 from 80 different breweries. To complement the suds, guests can graze over snacks and pub-friendly finger foods from 20 favorite local eateries including Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Datz Deli, IKEA Tampa restaurant, Tijuana Flats, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Whole Foods Market and more.

The annual event will take place on Saturday, raising funds for animal care at the zoo as well as educational programs. The zoo closes at 4 p.m. on the day of the event to set up for the onslaught of beer enthusiasts that evening.

Last year, Wazoo attracted 4,500 people, netting the zoo $210,000, the most successful event in the zoo's history according to zoo spokesperson Rachel Nelson. The 2011 event also became interactive for the first time ever as guests were asked to name the official Wazoo brew via text during the event, the winner being "Monkey See, Monkey Brew".

The cost for Wazoo is $60 if tickets are purchased today. Tickets will be $65 on the day of the event. VIP tickets, which include early access to the zoo, exclusive food and beer tastings and air conditioned seating areas, are also available for a cost of $90.

For more information about Wazoo or to buy tickets, call (813) 935-8552 ext. 329 or visit the Wazoo website.

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