The 14th-annual Gulfport Get Rescued event that benefits animals of all kinds will be held on Saturday, February 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Beach Boulevard stretching from the library to the Historic Casino, where a collection point for donations of items like unopened animal food and cat litter, new leashes, collars and toys will be staged on the sidewalk.
Beach Boulevard will be closed between the library to the stop sign across from the Casino. This will allow people in vehicles to easily drop off pet food and supplies. Over three tons of pet food is expected and will be distributed to participating rescue groups at the end of the day, said Suzanne King, owner of SIK Promotions, the event promoter.
The non-profit Gulfport Merchants Association (GMA) is hosting the event.
“About 50 non-profit rescue groups from all over the state, many specializing in specific dog breeds or non-K9 animal types, will be attending free of charge,” she said. “About 60 paying venders, artists and crafters have also reserved spaces for booths.”
It’s all about dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, birds, bunnies and even skunks that need adoption, said King. Event activities also include pet-care education, animal training demos, music, food for humans and paw persons, a Weiner Dog Derby and vendors selling animal-related products.
“If you aren’t looking to find your fine furry or feathered friend, there will still be plenty for you to do,” she said.
A “Bark-B-Que” and “Fun-Raiser” will be held at Salty’s on Shore Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A donation of $5 will get you a hot meal and soft drink. And, all-natural frozen treats for puppies and dogs will be available for a donation of $2. About $2,000 is raised from this “event within and event” and all proceeds go to the participating Get Rescued non-profit recipients, said King.
The event is one of the largest animal rescue festivals in the state and all of the profits and donations will benefit participating non-profit rescue groups, said King.
Leading up to the event, more than 50 large donation cardboard boxes for animal food and supplies have been set up in area businesses or on adjacent sidewalks throughout Gulfport and neighboring cities for several weeks, she said. Pre-event donations can also be dropped off at the Gulfport Welcome Center, 3101 Beach Blvd. S., Suite 1.
A crowd of thousands of people and many pets are expected to attend the free, family friendly festival, said King. Free parking is available nearby at or the beach between the Casino and the Gulfport Recreation Center.
“This is my favorite personal event,” said Scott Linde, GMA president. “It’s pure donating for and adopting as many animals as people possibly can. We make zero dollars. It’s so much fun.”
“All leashed people and their well-behaved pets are welcome,” she said. “We want to get domestic animals adopted and give as much back as we can to the rescue groups.”
New this year is a crowd-funding campaign that is soliciting tax deductible cash or check donations, said King. “The donate button is on the Get Rescued Facebook page.”
For more, visit facebook.com/GetRescued.