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Get quirky at Gulfport’s annual GeckoFest
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Gulfport's 14th annual GeckoFest will bring entertainment to streets and stages during a daylong spectacle on Saturday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Beach Boulevard.
GULFPORT – Gulfport's 14th annual GeckoFest will bring entertainment to streets and stages during a daylong spectacle on Saturday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Beach Boulevard.

GeckoFest is free and family-friendly.

Amid the thousands of festivalgoers, hundreds of vendors and dozens of live musicians on two stages, attendees can expect to come face to face with acrobats, aerialists, break-dancers, escape artists, magicians, jugglers, fire performers and more. GeckoFest brings an interactive circus atmosphere to the waterfront village.

Each year, Gulfport celebrates the end of summer with its largest festival of the year, dedicated to the town's unofficial mascot and favorite reptile. GeckoFest has grown to become one of Tampa Bay's most anticipated events of the year.

Live music, a kid's activities area, and vendors throughout the village are all part of the fun. Strolling and stationary street performers are now also a hallmark of the GeckoFest tradition.

This year's street performers bring more fun and thrills to the streets than ever before, allowing visitors get close to the action. Many of the performances include interaction and audience participation with festivalgoers of all ages.

The Acromaniacs return with balancing, flipping and comedy shenanigans. Dallas and Nick are reprising their amazing feats of juggling and escape from bondage. New to GeckoFest, Sara Schmoo performs a variety of circus acts including fire eating, contortions and stilt dancing.

Will Soto performs high wire stunts that are both thrilling and comical. A full slate of other circus and magic performers, costumed characters (including pirates and superheroes), balloon artists, living statues, dancers and more will be spread throughout the village, offering free entertainment for the whole family throughout the day.

An amazing fire show by the Bohemian Fire troupe will cap off GeckoFest again this year, including fire dancing, fire juggling and fire on the high-wire lighting up the night, set to music from the 1920s through today.

Live music on two stages will entertain the GeckoFest throngs again this year. Headliners will include popular local favorites the Ries Brothers on the South Stage and Double M Band on the North Stage. Both headliners are well-known Florida favorites playing high-energy danceable pop music covers and originals.

The famous GeckoFest street dance will close out a day of live music with a party in the streets. Other bands and musicians during the day and evening include Phillip Cole, the Fabulous Deltonas, Francesca, Joel and Dakota, the Paul Anthony Band, Jay Pritchard, the Rose Island Band, Sol Sessions, 3 Pint Harmony and the Trop Rock Junkies.

A free kid's zone will be dedicated to GeckoFest games and creative activities for children in Gulfport's Art Village Courtyard from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Join the O-Fish-Al Gecko Goddess and other weird and fanciful creatures in a special Gecko Garden created just for the day's events.

Games will include the Great Gecko-Toes Freeze, the Musical Gecko Sprinkler, a Goofy Gecko Hole Toss, the Great Big Gecko Rock Eater, and Pool Noodle Geckos. Other free kid's activities include Make Your Own Decko Gecko Hats, storytelling, face painting and a group drum circle.

All craft materials are supplied. The kid's area is sponsored by FAB Fiber, First Florida Frontiers and the Industrial Arts Center of Gulfport.

Colorful costumes are encouraged for all. Visitors may wish to don a gecko costume, or come as any other character they may imagine. The theme for this year's Gecko events is Roaring Geckos, evoking the 1920s, so costumes may incorporate the theme as well. There will be the traditional afternoon GeckoFest Walking Parade, led by Gulfport's Mayor, and including the O-Fish-Al Gecko Goddess and the Gecko Queen and her Court. A costume contest following the parade will offer an opportunity to win prizes for some of the day's best ensembles for adults and for kids.

More than 200 vendors will line the streets of Gulfport's waterfront village during the festival. This year, non-food and non-sponsor vendors have been limited to only independent artists, craftspersons and businesses offering hand-made or locally produced items. Purchases from these vendors will support only independent small and locally-owned businesses. Gulfport's own eclectic, independent shops and galleries also offer great one-of-kind treasures.

A variety of street food vendors will also complement choices from over a dozen of Gulfport's own great, independent restaurants. Two beer and wine vending areas will also be on hand for festivalgoers.

Parking for GeckoFest is free. Free shuttles also offer visitors an opportunity to park in off-site locations for transportation to and from their vehicle and the festival site.

For information on GeckoFest, directions and parking, visit www.GeckoFest.com and www.GulfportMA.com.
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