VALPARAISO | Tim Gehrels’ goal for the evening was to raise enough money to build a clean drinking water well in Africa.
"Splash Bash," a concert Thursday evening in Central Park Plaza that Gehrels helped organize, was designed to accomplish that goal.
The event, which featured four bands and food from area vendors, benefited the Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization.
“The Thirst Project raises funds in an effort to help combat the clean water crisis all throughout the world,” said Gehrels.
Gehrels, a member of the Indiana University chapter of Thirst Project, and friends and co-workers Liz Williams and Bridget Muntzing, organized the concert as summer interns for 27 Entertainment, a downtown Valparaiso business that provides wedding entertainment and cinematography.
There are 15 members of the IU chapter of the national organization, said Gehrels, a business major.
“In college, I wanted to be a part of some organization that does good in the world,” said Gehrels.
The music attracted at least 100 people out to enjoy the evening at the park.
Bill and Gerry Malackowski, of Chesterton, brought their lawn chairs and found a place on the lawn to relax.
“We like to visit the suburbs of Chesterton every once in a while,” Bill Malackowski joked.
Gerry Malackowski said it was the couple’s second visit to the park.
“It’s nice here,” she said. “There’s no trains like in Chesterton.”
Chris and Mallory Davis, of Portage, relaxed on a park bench while feeding their daughter, Annabelle, 5 months. It was their first visit to the park, and they looked forward to hearing a friend play in one of the bands.
“It’s beautiful here,” said Mallory Davis. “It’s a really great place for families to come. It’s nice to have a place like this close to home.”
Through donations and event sponsorships, Gehrels said he hoped to raise $5,000 at the concert – just enough to build one drinking water well.
“It’s a free event, but we wanted to get as many people out as possible to listen to some good bands, eat some good food, and to spread the message of the crisis out there. Just having this happen is a success.”