Press Releases

Most recent GeckoFest Press Releases:

  • Gecko Ball Tickets Go On Sale July 4th

    Contact: John Haugen; (727) 623-0524;


    GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Tickets for the Ninth Annual Gecko Ball will be available beginning July 4th.  The Ball will be celebrated with a theme of “Geckostock!” on Saturday, August 26th, 2017.  Plan now for the event known as Gulfport’s party of the year!

    The party will be a celebration of hippie culture and the legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival.  Décor and scenery will transport ball-goers into a psychedelic era.  Expect to experience over-the-top revelry and costumes, from hippies to rock stars to other 60s cultural and political touchstones.  Ball-goers are encouraged to develop costumes relating to hippies, Woodstock and the 1960s, or to geckos, or any creative combination!  A costume contest will help decide some of the best outfits at the Ball. 

    “Geckostock” will be held at the historic waterfront Gulfport Casino Ballroom (5500 Shore Boulevard South) from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday, August 26th.  The event gets larger and more popular each year, including over the top décor, full cash bar, geckotinis and other cocktail specials, passed hors d’oeuvre and tapas.  Live music by the Throwback Band will fill the dance floor this year with 60s-era pop, rock and soul music as well as hits from nearby decades.  Hundreds of silent auction items will be up for bids, and the annual live auction of artist-created geckos will once again be a highlight of the evening.  Witness the whimsical coronation of Gulfport’s next Gecko Queen! 

    Tickets are $35 per person and will go on sale at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4th at the Gulfport Welcome Center (3101 Beach Boulevard South) or the Gulfport Beach Bazaar (3115 Beach Boulevard South).  Tickets may also be purchased online with a credit or debit card at  The Gecko Ball sells out every year, so would-be Ball-goers should purchase tickets as far in advance as possible.  While they last, reserved tables of ten or twelve are available for group reservations only if all tickets for the table are purchased in person at the Gulfport Welcome Center in one transaction.

    Gulfport celebrates the Gecko each year with a series of whimsical events at the end of summer.  The Gecko Ball occurs one week prior to the 17th Annual GeckoFest street festival (September 2nd), and each year the Ball’s theme also lends itself to costumes that GeckoFest participants are encouraged to flaunt during the Fest’s walking parade.  The Tenth Annual Gecko Crawl will be held August 12th this year, and the third annual “Art Gecko Show” will be held during the month of August, with an opening reception on August 4th.  All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association and a portion of proceeds is donated to local charities each year.  Community Support Grants this year will be made to the Creative Play Preschool and the Sonia Plotnick Health Fund.  Visit for more information on all events. 

    For more information and updates on the Gecko Ball, go to and “like” the Gecko Ball Facebook page:  Contact John Haugen for details by email to

    gecko ball 2017

  • GeckoFest 2017 presents GeckoStock

    GeckoFest – Gulfport’s End of Summer Celebration

    GULFPORT, FL: Calling all flower children, hippies and tree huggers!

    Flock to Gulfport’s waterfront and bring your buds for a day of peace, art and music! Gulfport invites you to the 17th Annual Geckofest, presented by Eyeglass World, celebrating the end of summer with its largest festival of the year, honoring this waterfront village’s unofficial mascot and favorite reptile, the Gecko!

    Drag out those bell-bottoms from the back of your closet and get groovy at “Geckostock”. Celebrating the 1969 Woodstock Festival and featuring a host of hippie-themed festivities.

    Geckofest will feature themed live music, vendors, strolling and stationary street performers, a quirky walking parade, colorful costume contests, and the ever-popular end-of-the-day dueling street dances that wrap up this light-hearted send-off to summer. It’s going to be far-out and outta sight, man!

    Additional “Gecko-World” activities include; A Gecko Art Show and Reception on Friday, August 4 th , a Gecko Bar Crawl on Saturday, August 12 th the Gecko Ball on August 26 th .

    Parking and Admission to Geckofest is complimentary and the event is pet and family-friendly. For more information, please visit or call 727-322- 5217.

    The Gulfport Trolley also offers visitors an opportunity to park in off-site locations for transportation to and from their vehicle and the festival site at no charge. Gulfport GetGO’s 5 passenger electric vehicle, will also be available to pick up residents or visitors & deliver them to their desired destination with no parking worries!

  • Seven Local Artists Create Geckos for Charity Auction

    June 30, 2016: For Immediate Release
    Contact:  Jessica Sager;

    GULFPORT, FL: Seven larger-than-life geckos will be the centerpiece of a live auction to benefit local charities. 

    The geckos will be visualized and created according to each artist’s individual concept.  All seven geckos can be seen for the first time at the Second Annual Gecko Artists’ Show during an opening reception on Friday, August 5th at the Catherine Hickman Theater (5501 27th Avenue South) from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m

    The show will also feature selections from the participating artist’s regular body of work in a variety of media. 

    The reception is free and open to the public and will also include complimentary hors d’oeuvre and a cash bar. 

    The selection of artists’ other work will continue to be displayed through the month of August, but following the reception, the geckos themselves will be moved to preview locations in venues throughout Gulfport’s Waterfront village. 

    The geckos will then go up for auction at the Eighth Annual Gecko Ball on Saturday, August 27th at the historic Gulfport Casino Ballroom.

    Each gecko will be a prized collector’s art work and join the ranks of nearly 60 other geckos that have been created since the event’s inception. 

    Organizers initiated the Artists’ Gecko Auction seven years ago with much success and the auction is now a popular part of the tradition of annual Gulfport Gecko-related activities in late summer.  The Gecko Artists’ Show was conceived last year as a way to highlight and show appreciation for the participating artists.

    Artists selected to create geckos for this year’s auction are:

    • Patsi Aguero
    • Michael Chapman
    • Suzanne Harding
    • Jeanne Heywood
    • Angela Lagan
    • Lenne Nicklaus-Ball
    • Mary Stenov

    Artists were chosen from those who submitted a concept during an open call earlier in the year.

    Following the opening reception, the seven geckos will be on display at these Gulfport locations in the three weeks leading up to the Gecko Ball:

    • Boca Bay Grille
    • Gulfport Beach Bazaar
    • Gulfport Casino
    • Gulfport Public Library
    • Gulfport Welcome Center
    • Historic Peninsula Inn
    • Salty’s

    The annual Gecko Ball has become known as Gulfport’s Party of the Year! 

    This year’s theme is “20,000 Geckos Under the Sea,” celebrating all things on, under and near the sea, as well as the classic 1954 film and the 1870 Jules Verne adventure novel. 

    Décor and scenery will transport ball-goers into a vivid, colorful underwater tableau. 

    In addition to the live auction of the artist’s geckos, the event includes dozens of silent auction items, costumes and costume contests, coronation of the Gecko Queen, catered tapas, cash bar, live music by the Big Night Out, dancing and more. 

    The Gecko Ball will be held at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom (5500 Shore Blvd.). 

    Tickets are $35 each and are available in advance beginning July 4th at Gulfport Beach Bazaar (3115 Beach Blvd.), Gulfport Welcome Center (3101 Beach Blvd.) or online here with a credit or debit card. 

    A portion of proceeds from Gecko Ball, as well as Gulfport’s Gecko Pub Crawl (August 13th) and GeckoFest (September 3rd) will benefit the Gulfport Historical Society and First Florida Frontiers.

    Artists from Gulfport or with ties to Gulfport have volunteered their time and talent to create a gecko for this year’s auction. 

    Heat, color, passion and wit are the elements of Patsi Aguerro’s artistic language.  Her palette infuses tropical hots and cools on canvases, celebrating the human spirit.  She is a veteran educator and continues to teach the young, old and differently-abled. 

    Michael Chapman works in several media including watercolor, acrylics, ink, sculpture and mixed media.  He started painting as a young man and developed his unique style which has led to a successful career in art. 

    Suzanne Harding is a mixed media artist who loves to bring whimsy and color to her work.  Her assemblages, paper constructions and oil paintings have been shown in Provincetown, Massachusetts and acquired by private collectors throughout the country.  She is currently focusing on creating “creatures” using methods including sewing, carving and assemblage.  Her work can be seen at the Gulfport Beach Bazaar.  She says her interest in the “weird and wonderful” is what has drawn her to Gulfport. 

    New Gulfportian Jeanne Heywood studied painting at Kent State, Baldwin Wallace and Cleveland State.  She is a retired art teacher currently studying at the Morean Center in St. Petersburg.  Her current body of work features industrial objects treated in a “precious” fashion, allowing viewers “to see the common as extraordinary.” 

    Angela Lagan is an active participant in the Gulfport civic community.  She is also a creative “re-purposer,” using vintage marine hardware and mixing in pieces with patina and character.  Her work enables her to show her love for boating and allows the viewer to see the beauty of sailing and the ocean in new ways.  Her pieces have been acquired by collectors in many private homes and local businesses. 

    Participating as one of the “gecko artists” for the past three years, Lenne Nicklaus-Ball works in many media and is known for her large abstract collages and ostrich egg assemblages which have been displayed in museums throughout the eastern United States.  She is currently working on individual commission pieces and is also writing a historical fantasy novel.  Her work is represented at August Vernon Studios in Gulfport. 

    Mary Stenov studied art at the Pratt Institute and has taught art in New York, Connecticut, Saudi Arabia and Florida.  She has exhibited her work and lectured in the U.S. and abroad.  She has worked in many media, including glass, wood, stone, linoleum, plaster, clay and fabric, emphasizing texture and pattern. She hopes to contribute to the community through art the wonders and joy of creating magic, using head, heart and hands.

    All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association and a portion of proceeds benefits one or more local charities each year. 

    For more information on the Gecko Ball go to or, or contact John Haugen at

  • Gecko Crawl Celebrates “Gecko Season” in Gulfport

    June 25, 2016: For Immediate Release
    Contact: Biff Lagan (305) 923-1803

    GULFPORT, FLORIDA: The ninth annual Gecko Crawl will help usher in “Gecko Season” in Gulfport with an opportunity to sample drinks at six locations, a poker run, and a festive afterparty in Gulfport’s colorful Waterfront District. 

    The Crawl will be held Saturday, August 13th from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the afterparty beginning at 9 p.m.

    Gecko Crawlers will be able to enjoy a free beverage at these participating bars and restaurants:

    • Boca Bay Grille
    • Mangia Gourmet
    • Neptune Grille
    • Peninsula Inn
    • Salty’s
    • and Gulfport’s newest venue, Manatees on the Bay

    All are located within easy walking distance along Beach and Shore Boulevards.

    Crawlers may start at any participating location and continue their Crawl in any order.

    A Poker Game of Five Card Stud will add to the evening’s festivities.

    Crawlers will be dealt a free card at each location when they pick up their drink token. One additional card may be purchased for $5 at Boca Bay Grille when checking in at the end of the Run.

    A high-energy afterparty will be held at Boca Bay Grille beginning at 9 p.m. 

    Poker Run participants must check in their hands with Crawl Ambassadors at the party by 9:30, and winners will be announced at 10 p.m. Participants for Poker Run prizes must be present to win.

    There will be three Poker Game Winners: Best Poker Hand, Worst Poker Hand and a Drawing chosen from all entries, regardless of their poker score.

    The Worst Poker Hand will ride away on a Corona Beach Cruiser Bicycle, while Best Hand wins dinner and lodging at the Sirata Beach Resort and the General Drawing winner will enjoy lodging at Loews Don Cesar on St. Pete Beach.

    Tickets are available in advance for $20 each at the Gulfport Welcome Center, 3101 Beach Blvd S. in Gulfport as of July 4th.

    Tickets are limited to 250 participants and advanced purchase is encouraged, as this event does sell out.  If tickets remain on the day of the Crawl, they will be sold for $25 each, at the Welcome Center until sold out.

    For more information, contact:

    Biff Lagan at (305) 923-1803

    or the

    Gulfport Welcome Center at (727) 344-3711 

    Additional information on any of Gulfport’s Gecko related festivities may be found at or

    A Gecko Art Show and Reception on August 5th, the Gecko Ball on August 27th and the GeckoFest street festival on September 3rd round out the slate of late summer Gecko fun, celebrating Gulfport’s favorite reptile!

    A portion of the proceeds from all Gecko events are donated each year to local charities.

    All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association.

  • Gulfport’s Geckofest Volunteers Needed

    -For Immediate Release-
    June 11, 2016

    Believe it or not, Gecko Season will soon be upon us and we need to start planning!  As usual, an event as awesome as Geckofest cannot succeed without great volunteers. This year, Geckofest is September 3th.

    This year we need to fill roughly 90 volunteer positions including:

    • Barricade Set-Up/Security
    • Vendor Set-Up
    • VIP Area Host 
    • Pouring Beer         

    And many other positions!

    Did you know that volunteering can further your career, build your network of professionals, strengthen your leadership skills, and help implement new ideas within our community? Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

    Signing up is easy!  Just go to  and follow the links to Geckofest.

    For more information, please contact:

    Mallory Marsico – 727-386-2702

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