Geckofest Street Festival Shines in Gulfport 

Belly dancers jangled in front of onlookers at the festival – just one group of many various dancers at Geckofest. 

Now in its 19th year, Gulfport’s Geckofest lit up Beach Boulevard South with medieval costumes and local music on Saturday, August 31, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This year’s event theme was “Geckos of the Round Table,” and patrons were encouraged to dress as characters from the middle ages. As expected, many princesses, kings, knights and a few elf ears graced downtown during the festival, which featured live music on two stages, food and arts and craft vendors, kids’ activities, and street performers of all varieties. 

“I always mark this on my calendar, ever since a friend brought me here years ago,” said Geckofest visitor Kathryn Robinson. “I come for the people, and the drinks.” 

The street festival is the last of the “GeckoWorld” events and marks Gulfport’s “end of summer,” according to organizers. The festival also featured a “quirky” walking parade, costume contests, and the end-of-the-day dueling street dances.

Geckofest in Gulfport featured live music on several stages, including musicians Savii and Sean, pictured, on the Blueberry Patch stage.

Mark Dobin, decked out as a pirate in his “hook and hand,” checked out O’Maddy’s at the Saturday event. “I heard there was some fun going in downtown,” Dobin said. 

Michael Kernodle, director of the Lakewood High School Marching Band, enjoyed Geckofest while raising money for his students to make a trip to New Orleans. “We are out here having some fun and hopefully making some money,” Kernodle said while taking a break from his trumpet. The high school band played for donations during Geckofest. 

A top hat-clad magician, who coins himself “Rafael Magic,” entertained Geckofest guests all throughout Saturday morning. “I’m just here to make people smile,” the performer said. 

Beach Boulevard South was filled with music at the Saturday, August 31 event, from indie tunes to polka, the downtown Gulfport area had no shortage of musicians and live bands. Bobbi Redman and Carl Ricciardi stuck with the Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band, and whirled alongside the yellow-clad musicians. “We’re really good when the music is fast,” Redman said. 

Darrell and Courtney Miller sit in the shade and enjoy some Geckofest street food: turkey legs and ribs. “Let me just make sure there’s some extra sauce on my face,” Darrell joked. 

“I love Gulfport, it’s a very LGBTQ positive and fun little spot in St. Pete,” said Geckofest attendee Kathryn Robinson. “I’m just hoping there’s no actual lizards here.” 

 

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