Gecko Ball Entertains, Raises Funds

Larry Enlow of Gulfport and Mickie Olive of St. Petersburg, both from the non-profit Enroy Foundation, had some fun with the pillory prop. According to, in the 1700s it was common practice to place a convicted person into a pillory that was usually located in a public place like a town square. Unlike stocks, which are similar, there is no seat – offenders had to stand. Law enforcement officials and others would then throw mud or rotten food at them.

For the 11th-annual Gecko Ball on Saturday, August 24, the theme was “Geckos of the Round Table” and most of the over 300 attendees got creative with costumes ranging from knights, queens and jesters to a castle with a drawbridge.

The Gulfport Casino’s red-carpet ramp was the perfect place for people to make a grand entrance and to be interviewed by the Glamour TV crew. Host Greg Stemm teamed up with video producer Gail Biron, both of Gulfport, and together they helped to set the tone for the evening: have fun. To view the highlights of their 26-minute video, visit

The Gecko Ball is known as Gulfport’s party of the year, according to the non-profit Gulfport Merchants Chamber (GMC) website. It is part of a series of annual gecko-themed fundraising events sponsored by the GMC. Portions of the proceeds are donated to local charities and also fund two $1,000 grants for individual artists.

One of the highlights of the evening was the reveal and crowning ceremony of the 2019-2020 Gecko Queen: Jody Robinson, of Gulfport.

“It’s so wonderful every year to see all the people coming together with all the beautiful costumes,” she said. “I love it. I love Gulfport.”

Jody Robinson, center, reacts as a crowd of over 300 attendees cheer after her official crowning ceremony as the 2019-2020 Gecko Queen. “I love Gulfport,” she said

Faun Weaver was the first Gecko Queen for 2013-2014. She died on January 19, 2019 and is honored with the title of “Queen Emeritus.” Pictured from left to right are Weaver’s Gecko Queen costume that was also part of a detailed memorial displayed on top of the Casino’s piano in the background, featuring her favorite color, pink; Jody Robinson, Gecko Queen 2019-2020; Jon Ziegler, Gecko Queen 2018-2019; and Brian Liggins, Gecko Queen 2017-2018.

Outgoing Gecko Queen Jon Ziegler, known for his costuming expertise, dressed as a court jester accessorized with a variety of geckos from head to toe including on a staff and folding fan.

A group of friends stopped on the dance floor long enough during “Brick House” to strike a pose. Pictured from left are Carol Boston, Jan Leslie Harding, Suzanne Harding, Becki Borowski, Mary James and Gini Fagan. Suzanne Harding, the castle with a drawbridge, won the award for best individual costume.

Local artists Crea Egan and Tom Pitzen dressed in custom-made costumes as the “King and Queen of the Oaks.” They won the couple’s award for best costumes. “We stand for the forest,” said Egan. “We’re not shrubbery.”

Some attendees took the theme of the evening – “Geckos of the Round Table” – literally and wore custom decorated round tables as hats. Seated in the foreground are Brigitte Koch, left, and her mother Cindy Haugen, both of Gulfport.

Vice Mayor Paul Ray, left, and Wesley Ray enjoyed browsing the silent auction area that included photo and painting art, gift baskets and gift certificates to area businesses. A live auction featured one-of-a-kind, gecko-inspired pieces created by local artists.

The dance floor was always packed as the Bus Stop Band of Tampa Bay provided live music. Pictured in the left foreground are Brad and Felicia Pollack from Safety Harbor.



  1. How do I get my events put on the events calendar?

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