Gulfport’s 15th annual GeckoFest promises a full day of free family-friendly fun on Saturday, September 5th from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. The streets of the waterfront village will be filled with live music on two stages, hundreds of food, art and craft vendors, kids’ activities, and up close and personal street performances by a bevy of acrobats, magicians, daredevils, dancers, aerialists, escape artists, fire eaters, balloon artists and costumed characters. GeckoFest is located along Beach and Shore Boulevards in the heart of Gulfport.
The theme for this year’s festival is “Gecko Gras!” Join in the spirit of New Orleans if you wish and arrive in costume with your Mardi Gras finest. Or feel free to “geckofy” yourself. The GeckoFest wacky walking parade invites everyone to join in at 6:00. A costume contest for kids and adults will take place after the parade.
The festival will be flanked by two stages offering music throughout the day and night. The line-up for 2015 includes hours of lively tunes from singers and bands including the Hot Tub Club (featuring Gulfport’s own Mayor and First Lady), Yard Dog Charlie, Joel and Dakota, the Southern Road Dog Band, and Gumbo Boogie. To help you put your NOLA moves together, Cajun dance lessons will be offered to the crowd by Jim Hance twice during the day. In support of our area’s youth, GeckoFest will also present BlueRose, Competitive Edge Dance Company and Project Free’s Rising Stars. GeckoFest ends on a high note each year with its ever-popular, high-energy street dances at both stages starting at 8:00.
GeckoFest’s strolling and stationary street performers bring fun, thrills and a circus atmosphere to the village with a chance to get close to the action. Entertainers will make you laugh, gasp and applaud. Step right up and participate in a magic trick. Witness extreme stunts happening just a few feet away. Tie up an escape artist and watch him maneuver out of his bonds. Pose for photos with your favorite characters. Take home your own free, fanciful balloon creation.
This year’s street performers include past favorites and brand new ones. Father-son duo Dallas and Nick are reprising their amazing feats of fire juggling and escape artistry. The Amazing Kenny returns with his mixture of stilt-walking, juggling, fire-eating and ballooning. Comedy/stunt artist George Gilbert creates both laughter and wow-worthy daredevilry. Crazy Indy climbs into his Cyr wheel to perform outlandish acrobatic feats. Magician Rafael Villa amazes crowds with sleight of hand. Other jugglers, magicians, acrobats, face painters, dancers and aerialists will be on hand throughout the festival area. Favorite costumed characters will be roving the village ready to pose for your photos, including pirate “Captain Jack,” the Transformers’ “Bumblebee,” Ivy “Michael Jackson” King, the “O-Fish-Al” Gecko Goddess, as well as “living statues,” more pirates, fairies, sparkly Mardi Gras revelers and giant geckos.
Parking for GeckoFest is free. Free shuttles also offer visitors an opportunity to park in off-site locations for transportation to and from their vehicle and the festival site. For more information on GeckoFest, directions and parking go to www.GeckoFest.com. Like the Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GeckoFest. GeckoFest offers a fun-filled opportunity to explore quirky Gulfport, a wonderful slice of “Old Florida,” on one of its most colorful days of the year.
And come in and see us at Domain while you’re attending GeckoFest. We are in the center of all the action!
GeckoFest is preceded each year by the Gecko Art Show, Gecko Crawl and Gecko Ball. All events are hosted by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association. This year’s GeckoFest is sponsored by the following supporters: The City of Gulfport, Bright House Networks, Tampa Bay Times, Cox Media (The Eagle 107.3 & WDUV 105.5), GEICO, Beachlife, Paradise News, The Gabber, Jim’s Harley Davidson, Key West Express, Dole Dippers, YELP!, Tobacco Free Florida, The Island Reporter, Pet Supermarket and Smokin’ J’s BBQ. A portion of proceeds from all Gecko events benefits local charities each year. This year’s charitable recipients include CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library, Daystar Life Center and the Sonia Plotnick Health Fund.
GECKO SEASON in Gulfport celebrates the end of summer each year honoring our favorite reptile! Our town represents its quirky nature with fun-filled events stretching from the beginning of August through Labor Day weekend. A first annual “Gecko Artists Show” is now on display at the Catherine Hickman Theater. The annual “Gecko Pub Crawl” was held earlier this month. And we are still looking forward to the 7th Annual Gecko Ball on August 29th, and the 15th Annual GeckoFest on September 5th.
“Gecko Gras!” is the theme of this year’s festivities, with Mardi Gras-style costumes (intermixed with gecko costumes) and festivities being flaunted at each event. A few tickets are still available for the Gecko Ball, known as Gulfport’s “Party of the Year”! And GeckoFest, our largest and oldest street festival, is a FREE day-long, family-friendly celebration. A portion of proceeds from all Gecko events are donated to local charities each year.
For more information on GeckoFest and the Gecko Ball, including ticket information, go to GeckoFest.com.
AND… if you are contemplating adding a Gecko touch to your Gecko Ball or GeckoFest costume, Domain is your source for Gecko tails in Gulfport! Come in and pick yours out soon.
While you’re here, enjoy dining, shopping, art galleries, spas/salons, the beach and the Bay in our waterfront village. No chains; no parking meters. And… please stop in and see us at Domain Home Accessories & Gallery!
2COOL WAS CHOSEN AS A HOT TICKET BY TAMPABAY.COM. HERE’S WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY:
“Gulfport is about as charming as a small city gets with its lost-in-time, humanly scaled architecture, a cluster of good restaurants and its bustling arts scene. That scene will get even busier on Saturday and Sunday with the 2Cool Art Show at the historic Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd.
The show, in its fourth year, is an off-shoot of the popular Cool Art Show in the summer, which has been going for 26 years. Both are organized by the Professional Association of Visual Artists. It’s smaller than most art festivals with 38 artists and fine crafts people showing and selling works in popular media. But there is so much to do in downtown Gulfport, you can easily make a day of it. Hours both days are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. pavaartists.org.“
Get Fresh Every Tuesday!
TODAY is a great day to visit Gulfport! Holiday Hoopla fills the streets today with live entertainment; art, craft and food vendors; make and take crafts for kids of all ages; costumed characters; caroling and choruses; and a visit by… SANTA himself. Hoopla is free; family, pet and LGBT-friendly! 10am to 6pm.
THEN… watch for the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade passing along Boca Ciega Bay, beginning about 6pm-ish.
Stop in and visit us at Domain during Hoopla. We are your unique gift source, offering a shop full of items you won’t find in the malls and chains. We have something for almost everyone on your gift-giving list.
Happy Holiday Hoopla!
Don’t get your Tinsel in a Tangle… It’s time to get your holiday cheer in gear! Support small business and independent artisans and crafters by shopping local!
The Gulfport Merchants Association presents the annual Holiday Hoopla on December 13, 2014 from 10am to 6pm. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Operation Santa and Gulfport families in need.
Holiday Hoopla is a celebration of arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights.
Stroll the decorated streets filled with talented exhibitors and unique shops and galleries. The festival will provide shoppers with one-of-a-kind gifts that cannot be found anywhere else, and all of your holiday shopping can be done in one place!
Visitors will be enchanted by a variety of festive and fun holiday-themed music, holiday carolers, dance performances, and roving street performers.
Many types of entertainment will perform during the Hoopla, from local school bands & Choral groups and local musicians to area performing arts groups. Roving performers include Dickens characters and carolers.
Be sure to relax after all the excitement at one of the many Downtown restaurants, pubs, and cafes.
Did you know?
Gulfport was named one of six national small-town finalists in the “Best For Food” category during the 2011 Rand McNally/USA Today Road Rally? Visit our “village” during the Holiday Hoopla event for some of the best dining choices in Tampa Bay!
Whether you’re a Gulfport resident or a visitor from out of town, there’s plenty to see and do at Gulfport’s Holiday Hoopla Event.
With over a half mile of shopping, food, fun, and holiday splendor this festive event will soon become a Tampa Bay holiday tradition!
The Gulfport Merchant’s Association gives back to the community all year round.
During the Holiday Hoopla event donations will be collected for Operation Santa (New Toys/Gift cards, etc.), The Gulfport Senior Center Foundation (Non perishable food, toiletries & Pet Supplies) ).
If you are able, please help these organizations in need. Collection Boxes will be located at the Casino Stage at the intersection of Beach and Shore Boulevards during the event. Prior to the event drop off locations include Gulfport Police Department and The Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce.
Holiday Hoopla takes place on Beach Blvd. S. in Gulfport on December14th from 10am to 6pm.
(GPS: 5500 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707)
The event is sponsored by Bright House Networks, Tampa Bay Times, the Industrial Arts Center and the City of Gulfport.
Free trolleys will provide transportation to and from the hub of Holiday Hoopla from off-site parking locations. As always, admission and parking are free.
Contact: Suzanne King – 727-322-5217 or GulfportEvents@gmail.com
STICK AROUND… following Holiday Hoopla, stay for the annual holiday lighted boat parade from 6 to 8pm just off the shore of our beautiful Boca Ciega Bay. The boat parade is sponsored by Gulfport’s own Boca Ciega Yacht Club.
Artist Stephen Oliver has been selected as the winner of the Gulfport Merchants Association’s competition for a work of public art adjacent to the Gulfport Casino. Oliver’s sculpture proposal, titled “Best Kept Secret,” reflects on Gulfport’s history and the spirits of diversity and creativity that characterize the City today. According to Oliver, “it also celebrates the openness of a once-segregated community that continues to grow to accept everyone.”
The sculpture will be sited adjacent to the Gulfport Casino, an Art Deco styled public hall that is a Gulfport icon and has served as a community gathering place since the turn of the century. The Casino was recently approved for addition to the list of National Historic Landmarks.
Oliver’s sculpture will consist of a metal boat situated in a raised position at eye level so that visitors can read the poetry cut into its port and starboard sides:
“To cross the gulf be our port of call
leaving a wake of peace and love for all”
“All hands together joined to row
make rainbows of gauntlet as they go”
The sculpture also incorporates a keyhole in the stern of the boat, through which one can view a rainbow of painted colors and reflecting colored glass elements on the interior. The stern of the boat is also shaped like the façade of the casino and serves as a palette for a painting of “the colored people’s dance pavilion” to reflect how the community has evolved to become an inclusive one since the days of segregation. Oliver found an image of the old pavilion on the Gulfport Historical Society’s website. The boat’s tall mast-like weathervane, situated beside the boat, reflects the themes of peace and love in the poetry cut into the boat’s hull and incorporates sculptural elements intended to resemble Gulfport’s initials ‘G-P’.
Stephen Oliver is known by many Gulfport locals and visitors as the designer and vendor of the graphic “Give Peace” shirts and other garments he sells at Gulfport’s Tuesday Fresh Market. He has a background in architecture and furniture design, and has worked with numerous museums and artists in coordinating and designing projects, residencies, exhibitions and public art as well as making his own art.
Oliver has a degree in Architecture from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design. He lives part of the year in Maine. His family has local roots in St. Petersburg, where his father and other family members still live. His grandfather, Henry Oliver Sr., was a prolific builder whose wife ran their small produce market in St. Petersburg. “Grandpa Oliver” also helped lay the brick streets of Gulfport during a building boom that started in 1923 and ended in the Great Depression.
Oliver expects to begin work on the sculpture immediately, with final installation and dedication ceremony planned for this summer. The Gulfport Merchants Association (GMA) selected Oliver’s work after a national call for artists that resulted in over a dozen entries. Proceeds from Gecko Fest and other events sponsored by the GMA are funding the public art commission.
The 20th annual Springfest will take place along the green and tree-covered expanse of Gulfport’s 7.5 acre Clymer Park (5501 27th Avenue South), along the Beach Boulevard approach to the City’s historic waterfront district, on Saturday, April 12th, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The theme of the event features Springfest as a “Garden, Art and Faerie Festival.” For one day only, the park will be transformed into an “enchanted village” inhabited by costumed faeries, sprites, gnomes, ogres and trolls. Renaissance-era characters, gypsies, minstrels, wizards and roving entertainers in costume will also stroll through the event. All visitors are encouraged to join in the spirit of Springfest by donning wings, faerie-tale finery, Renaissance flair or any imagination-inspired attire. Two costume contests will take place to recognize the most colorfully-clad visitors, one for the little ones and another for older folks.
The event is free, family and dog-friendly, and open to the public. Activities and entertainment for all ages will be offered. A wide variety of activities and entertainment will include a May pole dance, a faerie house contest, garden art & plant sale and live music. A children’s area will offer many activities including tiara-making, face painting, pixie dusting, bubble blowing, a “faerie fight” and more.
Vendors will offer live garden plants, garden art, flowers, herbs, Renaissance-period items, clothing, jewelry, art, hand-made crafts and more. Assorted food and drink vendors will be on hand, and an enchanted beer garden will offer adult beverages. Live music will be performed throughout the day.
Free parking is available on site and free trolley rides to and from off-site parking areas will be offered. Springfest is hosted by the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce. Co-sponsors include the City of Gulfport, the Gulfport Merchants Association, Bright House Networks, Paradise News, The City of Imagination and other community groups. For more information, visit and “like” Springfest on Facebook/Gulfport Springfest or call 727-322-5217.
Vendor space and sponsorship opportunities for Springfest are still available. Applicants may include, but are not limited to: faerie theme, fantasy, Renaissance, plants and gardening, garden art, artists, craftsperson’s, food and beverages, corporate sponsors, and 501(c)(3) children’s non-profits. Chamber members will receive a discount. All merchants are asked to decorate their displays with a theme appropriate for the event, including faeries, fantasy, gardens, Renaissance or medieval periods. The merchandise itself need not be themed. Apply at SIKpromotions.com.
Gulfport’s Art Walk takes place twice monthly year-round. Shop local for interesting selections in Gulfport’s Waterfront Art District, each first Friday and third Saturday from 6:00 -10:00 pm. Gulfport’s authentic “Old Florida” atmosphere will provide a unique and relaxing shopping experience for visitors of all persuasions. Marvel at the work of artists and craftsmen, as well as authors and entertainers stretched over a half-mile up and down scenic Beach Boulevard. Live musicians including the Urban Gypsies, the Double M Band, and others will be appearing at venues throughout the Art Village. While browsing the art and craft booths, visitors may also enjoy Gulfport’s unique shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. There is no admission fee for visitors and complimentary parking is available nearby with courtesy trolley rides available from off-site parking areas. Gulfport events are pet and family friendly. Experience a dining, shopping and cultural experience unlike any other. The event is located near the surrounding area of 3129 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707. Vendor information can be found at http://suzieking.com/applicants/gulfport-art-walk. For general information, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfportArtWalk, visit us at www.GulfportMA.com or call 727-322-5217.