Geckos large and small arrived, some living (an actual iguana pet) and some person-made, from stuffing, paper mache’, and other mediums, as well as human mask-wearing geckos. The evening was cool and lovely, since the afternoon’s light rain had reduced the heat, without leaving the air too steamy. Gulfport’s 2015 Seventh Annual Gecko Ball, held on Saturday, August 29, was sold out. Costumed revelers appeared in their Gecko finery, dressed up in the “Gecko Gras” theme this year. Photographers posed guests on the red carpet as they arrived.
The Casino Ballroom was decorated in colorful Mardi Gras décor. The Jammin’ Jambalaya Band from Orlando, Florida, performed lively music.
“There were about 400 people in attendance,” said Daniel Hodge. “The food was wonderful, catered by Ricky P’s Orleans Bistro of St. Petersburg.”
“About 95% of the guests wore Mardi Gras-themed costumes,” Hodge said. “We had some amazing group costumes. Our First Place costume contest winner, John Ziegler, created his own costume as the character, the “Vampire Lestat” from the Anne Rice novel. We crowned our 2015 Queen, Vivian Marcum Hawker. Trophies for the costume contest were created by local artist Eric Folsom, from bronze and copper.”
If you weren’t able to attend the ball, don’t worry, you haven’t missed all the fun. Next Saturday, September 5, 2015, the 15th Annual GeckoFest will be held on the waterfront village streets. The festival is free, a full day of celebration, Gulfport’s oldest and largest festival of the year.
GeckoFest 15th Anniversary
Saturday, September 5, 2015
From 10 am-10:00 pm
3129 Beach Blvd., Gulfport, Florida 33707
Web site, Facebook
GeckoFest directions and parking
Parking for GeckoFest is free.
Free shuttles for parking in off-site locations, with transportation to and from vehicles to the festival site.
All Gecko events are sponsored by the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association, and a portion of proceeds is donated to local charities. A portion of proceeds from Geckofest will benefit public art installation in Gulfport’s Waterfront District.
Gulfport is such a cool community, a small village within a large city, which has maintained its own individual character and strong identity. In general, it’s a laid back, artistic area, but on the day of the festival, there will be thousands of people enjoying the art, food and fun running up and down the length of Beach Boulevard. GeckoFest is free and family-friendly,
Gulfport’s celebration of the end of summer. This is the largest festival of the year, dedicated to the town’s unofficial mascot and favorite reptile.
If there was ever a place and time to express your artistic inspiration, this is certainly it. Costumes are highly encouraged at the festival. With the 2015 theme of Mardi Gras, the “Gecko Gras” costumes will be colorful, festive and imaginative. Join the traditional afternoon GeckoFest Walking Parade, led by Gulfport’s Mayor, and including the Gecko Goddess, the Gecko Queen and her Court, followed by the costume contest for adults and for kids. Prizes will be awarded for some of the day’s best costumes.
This year’s costume contest will be judged by three costumed Gecko Queens, the original 2013 “Gecko Night Fever” Queen, Faun Weaver, the 2014 “Roaring Geckos” Queen, Wesley Sloat, and incoming 2015 “Gecko Gras” Queen, Vivian Marcum Hawker.
There will be six costume categories for children, separate categories for boys and girls, with ages from 0 to 5 years old, from 6 to 11 years old, and for ages 12 and up.
There are three adult costume categories, including Best Second-Line Umbrella, Best Mardi Gras Theme, and Best Gecko Theme.
For the Best Second-Line Umbrella category, visit a blog with ideas for decorating your own second-line umbrella. “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!” from the web site.
There will be dozens of live musicians on two stages. There will be performance art everywhere, strolling and stationary street performers, from acrobats, aerialists, break dancers, escape artists, magicians, jugglers, fire performers and more. Many of the performances include interaction and audience participation. A full slate of other circus and magic performers, costumed characters (including pirates and superheroes), balloon artists, living statues, dancers and more will be spread throughout the village.
A variety of street food vendors will also complement choices from over a dozen of Gulfport’s own great, independent restaurants, with two beer and wine vending areas.
There will be a brass band parading from one end of Beach Boulevard to the other. Wrapping up the festivities, come to the Gulfport Casino stage for the costume contests and the famous GeckoFest Zydeco Street Dance, which will close out the day of live music with a party in the street.
This is the schedule of performers for the day:
Roaming Acts going on all day long:
West Coast Mutineers
The Amazing Kenny
Jason Smith (Captain Jack)
The transformer “Bumblebee”
Brian the Balloon Guy
Ivy “Michael Jackson” King
North Stage at 28th Avenue
Cajun Zydeco DJ 10 am to 6 pm
Blue Rose 3 pm
Project Free Rising Stars 4 pm
Cajun Dance Lessons w/Jim Hance 5:30 pm
Yard Dog Charlie 6 pm to 8 pm
Hot Tub Club 8 pm to 10 pm
South Stage at Shore Blvd.
Cajun Zydeco DJ 10 am to 6 pm
Competitive Edge Dance Co. 2 pm
Joel and Dakota 3 pm to 5 pm
Southern Road Dog Band 5 pm to 6 pm
Walking Parade 6 pm
Kids Costume Contest 6:30 pm
Adult Costume Contest 6:45 pm
Southern Road Dog Band 7 pm to 8 pm
Cajun Dance Lessons w/Jim Hance 8 pm
Gumbo Boogie 8:15 pm to 10 pm
30th Avenue Intersection
The Crazy Indy Show (Cyr Wheel/Acrobat)
11:45, 1:15, 2:45, 4:15, 7:30
George Gilbert (Comedy Magician)
12:30, 2:00, 3:30, 5:00, 8:00
29th Avenue Intersection
The Dallas and Nick Show (Fire Juggler/Escape Artist)
11:00, 12:45, 2:30, 4:15, 7:45, 9:00
The Acromaniacts (Acrobats)
12:00, 1:45, 3:30, 5:00, 7:00, 8:15
31st Avenue Intersection
Rafael Villa (Magician)
11:00, 12:30, 2:00, 3:45, 5:15, 7:45, 9:15
David Ferman (Comedy/Extreme Stunts)
11:45, 1:15, 3:00, 4:30. 7:00. 8:30
Street Entertainment by Tampa Bay Sound and Production