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Parties: Bindi Irwin and Family Launch the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala in L.A.

The Guruman Aboriginal Dancers brought a real feel of Australia to the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo by Jenny Peters.

Animal advocates, dancing pros and others who remember Steve Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter,” fondly converged on the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to join Bindi Irwin and her mother and younger brother for the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala. It was all to support the Irwin’s Australian conservation charity Wildlife Warriors Worldwide and it attracted quite a diverse crowd, including chameleons, reticulated pythons and even a cheetah.

A cheetah joined the festivities at the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo by Jenny Peters.

A cheetah joined the festivities at the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo by Jenny Peters.

The party started on Saturday May 21, 2016, with cocktails and critters – plenty of them, to the delight of the black-tie-with-a-touch-of-khaki-clad partygoers. Everyone got the chance to get up close with birds, snakes, lizards and more, all a part of the message of international animal conservation and protection that the Irwins brought from their Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, located just north of Brisbane in Australia.

Steve Irwin, the herpetologist who founded that zoo, sadly passed away at age 44 in a fluke accident. But his legacy lives on through his family and friends’ work; many of them were on hand for this celebration of his life and of Queensland, the place he called home. His daughter Bindi Irwin, who became a worldwide star when she took home the “Dancing with the Stars” trophy partnered with pro dancer Derek Hough, led the charge, along with her mother Terri and still-young brother Robert

The Irwin family always has a reptile along for the ride, especially when celebrating the life of Steve Irwin in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Chris Schmitt Photography.

The Irwin family always has a reptile along for the ride, especially when celebrating the life of Steve Irwin in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Chris Schmitt Photography.

Hough and fellow “Stars” dancer Artem Chigvintsev, along with Tom Bergeron (the show’s Emmy-winning host), were all on hand to join in the celebration and live auction, which helped raise much-needed cash for the cause. Australia’s own Olivia Newton-John co-hosted the gala and everyone applauded the Guruman Aboriginal Dancers, who put on a terrific exhibition of Australia’s indigenous dancing and story telling.

The glittery evening was a commemoration of Steve Irwin’s love for everything wild in Australia, especially the reptiles and amphibians that live in the northeast part of the country. Tourism Queensland was one of the party’s major sponsors, and Leigh Arredondo, Tourism and Events Queensland’s International Director, The Americas, explained why.

“Steve Irwin is a renowned icon in Queensland and throughout the world for his work with wildlife. Queensland features a diverse array of wildlife and the Australia Zoo and Wildlife Warriors has been a leader in conservation, relating both to the animals and their habitats,” Arrendondo said. “We welcome visitors to experience it for themselves along with the rest of what the region has to offer.”

Terri and Bindi Irwin host the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Chris Schmitt Photography.

Terri and Bindi Irwin host the First Annual Steve Irwin Gala in Los Angeles on May 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Chris Schmitt Photography.

About Jenny Peters (136 Articles)
Jet Set Jen is the brainchild of Jenny Peters, a longtime freelance journalist whose career has spanned everything considered "Lifestyle" reporting, from movies and celebrities to fashion and fast cars, with plenty of food, wine and travel thrown in too. She currently contributes regularly to USA Today's 10Best.com, AARP.org, New York Magazine, Coast Magazine, Bask Magazine and numerous other newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide. She is a founding and voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (www.criticschoice.com), which annually honors the year's top films with the Critics' Choice Awards. Jenny and her crack cadre of reporters at Jet Set Jen offer up opinions, suggestions and insider scoops on the best that the world has to offer, to keep you on the cutting edge of that ever elusive pursuit of life, liberty, happiness – and fun, fun, fun.