Press Releases

Most recent GeckoFest Press Releases:

  • GeckoFest Brings Music, Magic, Thrills to Gulfport

    August 26, 2015: For Immediate Release
    Contact: Suzanne King;; 727-322-5217

    GULFPORT, FLORIDA: 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. 

    geckofest 2015 entertainment guide

    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,” IvyMichael JacksonKing, 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  Like the Facebook page at  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.

    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.

  • 7th Annual Gecko Ball Celebrates Gulfport at its Quirkiest!

    August 12, 2015: For Immediate Release
    Contact: Daniel Hodge; (727) 366-4086;

    GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Gulfport’s Seventh Annual Gecko Ball takes on a “Gecko Gras” theme this year, complete with all the festive hallmarks of a Mardi Gras celebration. 

    The annual Ball, widely recognized as quirky Gulfport’s “Party of the Year,” will take place on Saturday, August 29th at the waterfront Gulfport Casino.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the party lasts until 11 p.m.

    Ball-goers are encouraged to come in costume for the evening. 

    Put together your best Mardi Gras finery.  Expect to see beads, bangles, feathers, sequins, masks, parasols, jesters, and of course geckos!  A costume parade will allow you to strut your Gecko Gras ensemble and a costume contest will help determine the best in the house.  Colorful Mardi Gras décor will transform the Casino Ballroom.  Lively music by the Jammin’ Jambalaya Band will fill the dance floor.  Cajun cuisine will be supplied by Ricky P’s Orleans Bistro.  A full cash bar will offer geckotinis and other libations.  Hundreds of silent auction items will be up for bids, including art work, restaurant and shop gift cards, gift baskets, travel and resort stays, sports and attraction tickets, gourmet foods and wine, pet provisions and more in one of the best silent auction venues of the year. 

    The annual live auction of “art-geckos” created by local artists is a highlight of the evening.  And the whimsical coronation of Gulfport’s next Gecko Queen is always true to the town’s fun, friendly and quirky reputation.

    Tickets for the event are $35 each and are available at the Gulfport Beach Bazaar (3115 Beach Blvd. South) with cash or check, or online here with credit/debit card. 

    The Ball sells out each year, so purchase tickets as soon as possible.

    One week following the Gecko Ball, the 15th Annual GeckoFest on Saturday, September 5th fills the waterfront village streets for a free, full day of merriment during Gulfport’s oldest and largest festival of the year. 

    All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association, and a portion of proceeds is donated to local charities. 

    For more information, contact Daniel Hodge at 727-366-4086 or

  • Geckofest Parade Encourages Costumes

    August 13, 2015: For Immediate Release
    Contact: Suzanne King;

    GULFPORT, FLORIDA:  Gulfport’s beloved annual Geckofest would not be the same without its quirky, fun costume contests and this year promises to be exceptional! 

    With a 2015 theme of Mardi Gras, the “Gecko Gras” costumes will be colorful, festive and over the top.

    This year’s costume contest will be judged by all three of our own costumed Gecko Queens: 

    • The original 2013 “Gecko Night Fever” Queen, Faun Weaver;
    • Our 2014 “Roaring Geckos” Queen , Wesley Sloat;
    • Our incoming 2015 “Gecko Gras” Queen, Vivian Marcum Hawker!

    For the young contestants, there will be six categories: 

    • Boys – ages 0-5
    • Boys – ages 6-11
    • Boys – ages12 & up
    • Girls – ages 0-5
    • Girls – ages 6-11
    • Girls – ages 12 & up

    Our adult categories are as follows:

    • Best Second-Line Umbrella
    • Best Mardi Gras Theme
    • Best Gecko Theme.

    “Second-line umbrellas?” you may be asking. 

    Second lines, large or small, are held for any event which merits having a celebratory parade, and our annual GeckoFest Walking Parade is just that! Umbrellas and handkerchiefs have been carried by generations of New Orleans second-liners to combat the hot, muggy air and are now part of the traditional gear.  This year’s GeckoFest Walking Parade is following that tradition.

    Wave your white hankies in the air and strut with your own decorated parasols!  

    Join the brass band rolling from one end of Beach Boulevard to the other and back again, all culminating at the Gulfport Casino stage for the costume contests and Zydeco Street Dance!

    For more information, contact Suzanne King ( and visit

    Here is a link to a blog with ideas for decorating your own second-line umbrella.

  • Gulfport “Gecko Artists” To Display Their Work

    For Release: July 6, 2015
    Contact: Jessica Sager (727-608-0070)

    GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Nine local artists chosen this year to create geckos for an annual charity auction will have selections of their other work on display from August 7th until August 31st, kicking off “Gecko Season” in Gulfport. 

    An opening reception for the artists will be held on Friday, August 7th from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Catherine Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Avenue South in Gulfport.  Light refreshments and a cash bar will be offered.  The reception is free and open to the public.

    The nine artists were chosen from among those that expressed an interest in creating a larger than life gecko to be auctioned at the annual Gecko Ball. 

    For the exhibit, the artists will offer selections from their primary bodies of work.  Photographs of each of the geckos created by the artists will also be on display. 

    The actual geckos will be on display in various locations throughout the Gulfport Waterfront District in the weeks leading up to the Gecko Ball. 

    This year’s “Gecko Artists” are Janet Folsom, Denise Keegan, Lenne Nicklaus-Ball, Owen Pach, Tom Pitzen, John Ricci, Jonathan Schork, Frank Strunk III and Matt Worsham.  The various artists work in a variety of media including painting, mixed media, steel, glass, wood, fabric, stone and others, but are given liberty to create and embellish their geckos out of any materials they choose.  This is the seventh year in which artists have created geckos for auction at the Gecko Ball.

    This first-ever “Gecko Artists’ Show” will be the first of four events in Gulfport’s growing roster of gecko-themed events, celebrating the City’s unofficial favorite reptile at the end of summer each year. 

    Other “Gecko Season” events include the 8th Annual Gecko Crawl and Poker Run on August 8th; “Gecko Gras,” the 7th Annual Gecko Ball on August 29th; and the 15th Annual GeckoFest street festival on September 5th.  The Crawl and Ball are ticketed events for adults only.  GeckoFest is a free day-long event offering attractions for all ages.

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

    A portion of proceeds from events is donated to local charities each year.  This year’s beneficiaries are CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), the Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library, Daystar Life Center and the Sonia Plotnick Health Fund.

    For more information on the “Gecko Artists’ Show,” contact Jessica Sager at (727) 608-0070.  

  • Gecko Crawl Celebrates “Gecko Season” in Gulfport

    June 11, 2015: For Immediate Release
    Contact: Biff Lagan; (305) 923-1803 or    

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

    The Crawl will be held Saturday, August 8th from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., with afterparty beginning at 9 p.m.  Tickets are now on sale.

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

    • Little Tommie’s Tiki
    • Mangia Gourmet
    • Neptune Grille
    • O’Maddy’s
    • Peninsula Inn
    • Salty’s

    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 Run 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 O’Maddy’s when checking in at the end of the Run.

    There will be three Poker Run winners:

    • Best Poker Hand
    • Worst Poker Hand
    • A Grand Prize winner chosen at random from all participants regardless of their poker hand. 

    Prizes include a two-night stay at Hotel Zamora on St. Pete Beach, a two-night stay at Sirata Beach Resort on St. Pete Beach, and a sunset cruise for two aboard the Boat Butler.

    A high-energy afterparty will be held at O’Maddy’s 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. 

    The party will spill out onto one block of 54th Avenue, which will be closed for the event, with on-stage live music and dancing. 

    A portion of afterparty proceeds will be donated to Gulfport’s Michael J. Yakes Foundation.

    Tickets are available in advance for $20 each at Gulfport Beach Bazaar, 3115 Beach Blvd. in Gulfport. 

    Tickets are limited and purchase of advance tickets is encouraged.   If tickets remain available on the day of the Crawl, they will be sold for $25 each at all participating locations during the Crawl until sold out!

    For more information, contact Biff Lagan at (305) 923-1803 or 

    A Gecko Art Show on August 7th, the Gecko Ball on August 29th and the GeckoFest street festival on September 5th round out the growing slate of late summer Gecko fun, celebrating Gulfport’s favorite reptile!   A portion of proceeds from all Gecko events are donated each year to local charities.  All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association.

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