DCSubi t1_j20l8ug wrote

Not sure how accurate this is since the company/staff that FONZ contracted for zoo lights works in government buildings all over the city and just did the lighting at the White House holiday events. Presumably if the vendor and their staff are in the gov’s system to work in the White House, they’d be in the procurement system for the zoo.


DCSubi t1_j20kues wrote

Volunteers didn’t put up the lights. A large lighting company would begin installing the holiday lights shortly after Halloween. The zoo owned some of the animal-themed light displays. But the 3rd party vendor installed everything. The vendor worked with FONZ staff. Source - a former event contractor involved with the event


DCSubi t1_j20kduz wrote

It is free bc it is partially funded by the gov but it needs to fundraise the difference. Memberships and parking is/was one of the fundraising streams. The large events raise money through corporate sponsorships (for instance you might remember seeing Pepco’s name at zoo lights) and some of the evens (like the Halloween event) raised money through ticket sales. 3rd party/outside vendors set up along the main walk prob shared their profits as another revenue stream for the zoo. So, it makes sense that it all took a hit during peak SAH COVID. But the Smithsonian is not doing itself any favors with the way it handled dissolving FONZ - in terms of how it treated the FONZ employees and the visitor experience.


DCSubi t1_j1x21cn wrote

FONZ had a small but mighty events team. Event planning is one of those thankless jobs that when you do it well, it seems easy and effortless. Everyone thinks they can be an event planner. And then, they eliminate the people who did it for 15-20-25-30 years and realize it’s not so easy. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes the zoo to fix their ways.