Harrison County

The ‘croc’ will be celebrated at 2019 Splash Bash to benefit Mississippi Aquarium

This year’s Hancock Whitney Splash Bash, a fund-raising event for the Mississippi Aquarium, will have a crocodile theme.

The bank and aquarium came together Wednesday to say the Sept. 27 fundraising event at Jones Park in Gulfport would be called “The Year of the Croc,’” with the endangered American crocodile as the wildlife focus for this year. Both groups also joined well-known Gulf Coast artist Robert Waldrop to unveil his commemorative artwork for splash bash.

Each year, the splash bash spotlights wildlife or marine life expected to reside in replicated native habitats at the Mississippi Aquarium. In 2018 the sell-out inaugural Hancock Whitney Splash Bash welcomed 2,000-plus partygoers with a special emphasis on the African penguin and introduced the first of original designs created by Coast artists for the annual gala.

“As a focal point for Hancock Whitney Splash Bash, Mississippi Aquarium selects an animal important to ecosystems and facing threats to its environment and its future,” said Mississippi Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Kurt Allen. “This year, we chose the American crocodile, a close cousin to our American alligator which holds an integral place in the overall balance of wildlife in waterways and wetlands. For ‘The Year of the Croc’,’ Robert Waldrop has created a rare and amazing scene with his inspiring depiction of an American crocodile welcoming new life into her habitat and has captured the wonder of this animal with extraordinary artistry.”

Waldrop’s nature inspired works — including watercolors, acrylics, and metal pieces — grace galleries across the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to South Mississippi to Mobile and are part of private collections across the country. The lifelong Gulfport resident’s one-of-kind design for the second annual Hancock Whitney Splash Bash will appear on the limited-print event poster, as well as wearables available for pre-order on the Mississippi Aquarium website.

“Hancock Whitney is honored to be title sponsor again this year for the second annual Hancock Whitney Splash Bash. We also extend sincere thanks to the many other sponsors who have committed or will contribute to this benefit for Mississippi Aquarium,” said Hancock Whitney Mississippi President Emory Mayfield. “We look forward to celebrating ‘The Year of the Croc’’ ... as the Gulf Coast comes together for great music, great food, great people, and a great asset to our community—Mississippi Aquarium.”

Hancock Whitney Splash Bash proceeds support the Mississippi Aquarium. Under construction in downtown Gulfport and expected to open in late 2019/early 2020, Mississippi Aquarium will be an aquarium and global destination recognized for family entertainment, educational programming, conservation advancement, and showcases for marine life and marine research.