After a break in 2020, this year’s Gecko World, a smörgåsbord of summer events culminating with the Gecko Fest street fair, marks Gulfport’s 20th annual “end of summer” celebration.
The party is back on and, according to organizers, better than ever, featuring an art show, pub crawl, Gecko Ball and the street festival.
“With this being our 20th annual event, we are looking to make this as big and exciting as possible,” said Barbara Banno, President of the Gulfport Merchants Chamber, which sponsors the events along with the city. “We’re really going to do it up this year.”
To respect any costume work that may have been abandoned in 2020, the GMC is sticking with the original 2020 theme: Gecko Bandstand.
“This is really a community event and we want to really bring the community a great celebration,” Banno said.
While the show goes on, there have been some concessions to the ongoing pandemic, including 86-ing of appetizers at this year’s Gecko Ball.
“We’re struggling a bit in planning an event as pandemic rules change and shift,” reads a press release from the GMC. “We know Gecko World is a community-focused and beloved group of events and we want to host them keeping health, safety, and comfort levels in mind.”
Also new: Instead of two artist grant recipients, there will be one this year.
“Out of fairness, we’ll choose the recipient from our 2020 pool of applicants,” the press release reads. “Applications will reopen next year for the 2022 Gecko Ball.”
What’s a Ball Without a Queen?
The GMC is calling all queens to continue the royal Gecko line.
“Well, uh, the title’s largely ceremonial. She – or he, or they – attends Gecko Ball, marches in parades, kisses a lot of dogs, and presides over the pronouncement of the annually elected pet mayor (that’s where the dog-kissing comes into play)”, the GMC’s latest announcement reads.
Applicants will find out their royal status on the day of the ball – and crowning – August 28.
If you want to throw your tiara into the ring, send a photo and let the GMC know why you’re the next queen. Email Brittney Sherley at email@example.com.
Want to volunteer? Gecko World relies on community support. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
Save the Dates
Gecko Art Show, at the Catherine Hickman Theater, August 6.
Gecko Crawl, the downtown Gulfport pub crawl and poker run, August 14.
Gecko Ball, the wild costume party and queen coronation at the Gulfport Casino, August 28.
Gecko Fest, Beach Boulevard’s vendor-palooza and street festival, September 4.