Most recent GeckoFest Press Releases:
June 30, 2016: For Immediate Release
Contact: Jessica Sager; firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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.
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
- 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
Gulfport Welcome Center at (727) 344-3711
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.
-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 www.chrisnsteve.com and follow the links to Geckofest.
For more information, please contact:
Mallory Marsico – 727-386-2702
June 6, 2016: For Immediate Release
Contact: John Haugen; (727) 623-0524; email@example.com
GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Tickets for the Eighth Annual Gecko Ball will be available beginning July 4th.
The Ball will be celebrated with a theme of “20,000 Geckos Under the Sea!” on Saturday, August 27th, 2016. Plan now for the event known as Gulfport’s party of the year!
The party will be a celebration of all things under, on 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. Expect to experience over-the-top revelry and costumes, including sea creatures real and imagined, as well as a cast and crew of other salty characters. Ball-goers are encouraged to develop costumes relating to the film or book, to the sea, or to geckos, or any creative combination! A costume contest will help decide some of the best outfits at the Ball.
“20,000 Geckos Under the Sea” 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 27th. 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 Big Night Out will fill the dance floor this year with the sounds of the islands, tropics, Latin, R & B and more. 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 Monday, 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 VisitGulfportFlorida.com. 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 16th Annual GeckoFest street festival (September 3rd), 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 Ninth Annual Gecko Crawl will be held August 13th this year, and the second annual “Gecko Artists’ Show” will be held during the month of August, with an opening reception on August 5th. All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association and a portion of proceeds is donated to local charities each year. Donations this year will be made to the Gulfport Historical Society and First Florida Frontiers. Visit GeckoFest.com for more information on all events.
For more information and updates on the Gecko Ball, go to and “like” the Gecko Ball Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/GeckoBall.
Contact John Haugen for details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 12, 2016: For Immediate Release
Contact: Jessica Sager; 727-608-0070; Jessica.Sager@live.com.
GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Organizers of Gulfport’s 8th Annual Gecko Ball have announced a call to artists for the creation of their interpretation of a gecko. The live auction of artist-created geckos has become a much-anticipated tradition during each Gecko Ball. Seven artists will be chosen to create geckos for the Ball this year. For the first time in Gecko Ball history, each artist will receive 25% of the proceeds from the auction of their gecko. Additionally, each artist selected will receive two tickets to the Gecko Ball and will be acknowledged during the event.
The seven selected artists’ pieces will be unveiled at the Gecko Kickoff Opening Reception art exhibit on Friday, August 5, 2016, 6 p.m. until 8p.m. at the Catherine Hickman Theater lobby/gallery space in Gulfport. The artists chosen will also have an opportunity to have selections from their own bodies of work displayed during a curated exhibit at the Hickman Theater space throughout the month of August. Following the opening reception, each artist’s gecko will be moved and displayed in a local business in Gulfport’s Waterfront District until the day of the Ball on Saturday, August 27th.
To be considered, artists are invited to submit a brief resume, photos of some of their work and/or links to online sources of information about themselves and their work. It is necessary that artists predetermine and express a concept of the gecko that they would create if selected, including what types of materials will be incorporated. Geckos may be created from any material(s), and may be a three-dimensional or sculptural piece, but no more than four feet in length. Use of a steel form from past years is no longer required. Artists should clearly state that the gecko they create is either intended for indoor display only or suitable for display in outdoor weather conditions. Artists are responsible for purchasing any materials needed to create their designs. Selected artists must complete their geckos no later than July 8, 2016.
The deadline to submit an expression of interest will be May 16th. For more information and to submit materials, contact selection committee Chair Jessica Sager by phone at 727-608-0070 or email to Jessica.Sager@live.com. Submissions may be sent via email or postal mail to 2624 54th Street South, Gulfport FL, 33707. Over 50 geckos have been created by artists for auction at the Gecko Ball in previous years, each becoming a collector’s item. A portion of proceeds from the Gecko Ball, the Gecko Pub Crawl (August 6th) and the GeckoFest street festival (September 3th) is donated to local charities each year and/or used to fund public art installations. All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association.
The theme of this year’s Gecko Ball is “20,000 Geckos Under the Sea,” a celebration of all things in, on and near the sea, as well as the classic 19th century Jules Verne adventure novel and the popular movie which followed in 1954. Costumes are encouraged! The event includes catered fare, cash bar, live music and dancing, coronation of the next Gecko Queen, a costume contest, silent auctions and the live auction of artist-created geckos. Tickets for Gecko Ball will go on sale July 4th, and it is known to sell out every year. To receive updates on the Gecko Ball, including announcements of ticket sales and locations, visit and “like” the Facebook page for Gecko Ball at www.facebook.com/geckoball. Ticket sales announcements will also be published in local media. For more information about Gecko Ball, please contact Daniel Hodge at (727) 366-4086 or email email@example.com.