After a long year of shutdowns and cancelled events, city council continued working towards a return to normalcy with a flurry of events planned for the summer.
Council approved the Gulfport Kiwanis Club’s request to use the Gulfport Rec Center parking lot for a Juneteenth event June 19 from noon to 3 p.m. Marissa Stewart-Dix, president of Gulfport Kiwanis Club, spoke before the council on the importance of the holiday, which commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union troops freed the enslaved people of Galveston, TX, officially ending legal slavery in the U.S. The Kiwanis Club’s event will be the first official Juneteenth Celebration hosted in Gulfport.
Mitzi Gordon, of Creative Pinellas, and Cathy Salustri Loper, head of the Gulfport Historical Society (and publisher and co-owner of The Gabber) also spoke before council, requesting space in Clymer Park, near the Art Walk, for an interactive art exhibit. The exhibit, which council approved, will stay for six weeks and have artist-led activities twice a week, then return for another six weeks later in the year.
Paul Ray, in his closing comments, asked City Manager Jim O’Reilly if the city could host a fireworks show on the 4th of July in spite of their vote earlier in the year to cancel the event due to COVID concerns. O’Reilly replied that he’s been discussing the matter with the city’s fireworks vendor and will likely have an answer by the June 15 council meeting.
To read more about other decisions made at the June 1 Gulfport City Council meeting, check out this article.