Gulfport’s 15th Annual GeckoFest!
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.