GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Gulfport’s 18th annual GeckoFest promises a full day of family-friendly fun on Saturday, September 1st 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, chosen by public voting on the Gecko Ball Facebook page, is “Gecko Con”! “Gecko Con” will be a celebration of superheroes, villains, cult characters, imaginary locations and more from comics, books, movies, tv shows, animé and other media in pop culture genres akin to the world of popular Comic Con conventions around the world. The Gecko Con theme offers inspiration for a wide array of costumes, as well as music, dancing, food and drink. Festival-goers are always encouraged to arrive in costume and join in the wacky walking parade at 6:00 PM. A costume contest for kids and adults will take place following the parade.
The festival will be flanked by two stages offering music throughout the day and night. The line-up for 2018 emphasizes local talent from the Tampa Bay area. 12 hours of lively tunes on each stage will come from singers and bands including Code Red, I Heart Cats Band, Razin’ Jane, Elysian, Trinity 7, Solar Flair, The Laura Shepherd Show, Askew, Tropical Disturbance Sonic Stew, Ella Jet and Future Soul and more. Geckofest ends on a high note each year with its ever-popular, high-energy street dances starting at 7:00.
Incredible strolling and stationary street performers bring talent, fun, thrills and a circus atmosphere to the waterfront 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.
This year’s street performers include past favorites as well as brand new additions. Returning acts include father-son duo The Dallas and Nick Show, who are reprising their amazing feats of fire juggling and escape artistry. Crazy Indy will climb into his Cyr wheel to perform outlandish acrobatic feats. Magician Rafael Villa amazes crowds with sleight of hand. The AcromaniActs Acrobats, a family friendly acrobatic show, includes acrobatics, extreme flipping, body balancing stunts, lots of comedy and much more. Also returning to roam the streets are the Silver Statue, Ivy “Michael Jackson” King, Marie Tess, Pirates, and more. New acts this year are The Flaming Ginger, who combines fire, uncommon balance, and danger to create a unique street show, World Stage Productions, an International high energy breakdancing show, 11 year old Michael “Mr. Sax” Smith and Smooth Bryan. Other jugglers, magicians, acrobats, face painters, mimes, dancers and aerialists will be on hand throughout the day.
Up to 200 vendors will offer arts, crafts and other goods, as well as foods from across the spectrum to complement the many local restaurants in the village. Beer and wine will also be offered throughout the venue provided by independently owned businesses along Beach Blvd. South. Purchases from GeckoFest vendors, as well as Gulfport’s own, shops, galleries and restaurants support local, home-grown small businesses so, come on buy and say “Hi”!
Parking for GeckoFest is complimentary. Courtesy 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 to receive the latest information. 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 Chamber. This year’s GeckoFest is sponsored by the following supporters: The City of Gulfport, Eyeglass World, Tampa Bay Times, Great Bay Distributors, GEICO, Paradise News, ProSisters, Rainbow 411, GSH Radio, Smokin’ J’s BBQ, Tampa Bay Times, The Gabber, MOR TV, Local Shops1, Tampa Bay Sound & Production, Extreme Entertainment, The Blueberry Patch, All American Gutter Protection, My Gorilla Garage, Lasik Vision Institute, Sprint, Leaf Filter, Power Home Remodeling, Westshore Pizza, Pedal Pub St. Pete,Soup2Nuts Social Media, and SIK Promotions, Inc. A portion of proceeds from several Gecko related events are donated back to the community each year. This year’s recipients are: the Gulfport Senior Center Foundation, Operation Regroup and the Sonia Plotnick Health Fund.