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Press Release

Local Restauranteurs Make a Big Splash for Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program

February 29, 2024

Mystic, CT [February 29th, 2024]– Mystic Aquarium, in collaboration with leading restaurant groups from Eastern Connecticut, hosted the annual 'Freezin' for a Reason' Arctic Splash on Sunday, February 25th at Esker Point Beach and The Fisherman Restaurant. This year's event saw a record-breaking 201 participants take the icy plunge into Long Island Sound, exceeding the initial fundraising goal of $40,000 for the Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program and its clinic and surpassing $100,000 in charitable giving.

The overwhelming support of donors, the enthusiasm of participants, and the competitive spirit of local restaurant groups such as the 85th Day Food Community, CK Restaurant Group, S&P Oyster Co., Cannonball Restaurant Group, Shipwright’s Daughter, and Milestone, propelled the Aquarium to surpass the $100,000 revenue mark for the first time in a decade. This achievement marks the most significant amount ever raised in the ten-year history of the program.

In the 36 hours leading up to the event, the participating restaurant groups demonstrated an extraordinary surge in fundraising efforts, collectively raising a remarkable $40,000. The 85th Day Food Community, known for popular establishments such as the Port of Call and Oyster Club, triumphed in the competition by contributing an impressive $31,380 to the overall total. “Fundraising with a close-knit crew is like being on a mission. There’s banter, shared laughs, and a sense of having each other’s backs. It's not just about reaching goals; it's about creating memories and making a positive impact together,” says Nancy Hankins, General Manager of the Port of Call.

To further support the cause, the restaurants introduced specialty cocktails on their menus, with proceeds benefiting the campaign, and hosted 'Dine for Dollar' fundraiser nights, significantly enhancing their contribution to this commendable initiative.

The event has become a cherished tradition in the community, with this year's record participation highlighting the collective commitment to supporting the vital work of Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program. This program, staffed by dedicated volunteers and professionals, provides essential care to marine animals in need, ensuring their rehabilitation and safe return to their natural habitats.

 Tina Couch, Chief Advancement Officer of Mystic Aquarium, expressed gratitude for the community's support, stating, "We are overwhelmed by the incredible support from our community and the restaurant groups who have joined us in our mission to protect and preserve marine life. The funds raised will directly benefit our Animal Rescue Program, enabling us to continue our important work in marine animal rescue and rehabilitation."

The event also highlighted the culinary talents of Southeastern Connecticut's restaurant groups, who provided delicious refreshments for participants and spectators. Their generous support and partnership with Mystic Aquarium underscore the strong community ties and shared commitment to environmental conservation.

For more information about Mystic Aquarium and its Animal Rescue Program, please visit www.mysticaquarium.org. Fundraising is still open through Monday, March 4th, 11:59 PM, donations can be made via Classy.org