GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Gulfport’s 13th Annual Geckofest will bring entertainment to the streets during a daylong spectacle on Saturday, August 31st. Amid the thousands of festival-goers, hundreds of vendors and dozens of live musicians on two stages, expect to come face to face with live mermaids, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, fire dancers and more, creating an “up close and personal” circus atmosphere throughout the village. All festivities take place on Beach Boulevard in Gulfport from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Each year, Gulfport celebrates the end of summer with its largest festival of the year, dedicated to the town’s unofficial mascot and favorite reptile. The festival has grown to become one of Tampa Bay’s most anticipated events of the year. Entertainment in the streets is one of the hallmarks of Geckofest, with many both strolling and stationary performers interacting with visitors. This year’s festival brings more action, fun and thrills to the streets than ever before.
Live mermaids will be visiting in a rare display. The curator of the exhibit will give details on the history of mermaids, their habits and habitats, before drawing the curtain to reveal one of the visiting mermaids. These “sea women” of lore can be viewed up close behind the glass of a giant water tank. Naturally curious, a mermaid may surface from the water to interact with onlookers. Getting close to her may mean getting splashed! Watch for the mermaid exhibit in the heart of the festival.
The Mcandless Aerial Troupe will be on hand to perform acts of anti-gravity grace, including aerial acrobatics, long distance drops, hanging “Spanish web” rope maneuvers and more. The Acromaniacs will show off an array of thrilling acrobatics including “extreme flipping” and body balancing stunts combined with comedy. Also watch for Dallas, a well-known Bay Area performer combining comedy and juggling, as well as amazing feats of strength and balance.
Donning his trademark color orange, Stunt comedian Wacky Chad combines clowning with such stunts as carrying passengers on a miniature bicycle to balancing shopping carts on his face! His extreme pogo stick stunts will amaze festival-goers and his comedy antics will keep visitors in stitches. Seasoned magician, mentalist and entertainer Anton James will display a variety of illusions, including assorted magic tricks large and small, mind reading and “mind games,” and other entertainment in a high energy style.
Capping off the festivities, the Fireshow by Mayhem will showcase a troupe of performers who will dance with, play with, manipulate, swallow and have full body contact with fire. The finale includes a “rocket staff” spun by a performer like a baton with live fireworks attached to each end. Audience members gather in a circle surrounding the performance area and are able to view the pyrotechnics from close up. The fire show returns to Geckofest by popular demand and has thrilled audiences on every occasion.
Also watch for face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, drummers, a “living statue” and more street entertainers throughout the day. Other costumed performers, including pirates, gypsies, faeries, and of course geckos will be strolling through the village during Geckofest, creating a quirky, vibrant and colorful scene enjoyable for visitors of all ages. Geckofest visitors are encouraged to come in costume. Many of the Geckofest performers will also march alongside costumed visitors in the annual Walking Parade, which will be led by Gulfport’s Mayor Emeritus, and include the “o-FISH-al” Gecko Goddess, as well as the new Gecko Queen and her Court. A costume contest with prizes will be held following the parade for children and adults. Geckofest is sponsored by the Gulfport Merchants Association, and produced by SIK Promotions. For more information, go to www.Geckofest.com. Follow the Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/Geckofest.