GULFPORT — For 25 years, one of Gulfport’s staple events, Gulfport Springfest, a garden, art and faerie festival, has brought a sense of whimsy to the city.
This year’s event takes place Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Clymer Park, 5501 27th Ave. S.
“It’s a very whimsical weekend,” said Suzanne King, who works with the Gulfport Merchants Chamber to organize the festival. “It’s probably the most kid-friendly event we have in Gulfport.”
When Springfest first began 25 years ago, it was just an arts and crafts festival, she said. Since then, it’s grown into so much more. About seven years ago, the faerie theme was added to the event, she said.
During the event, Clymer Park is transformed into an “enchanted village,” she said. There, attendees will find a variety of characters — faeries, sprites, minstrels, gnomes, trolls, ogres, gypsies and more — portrayed by roving actors
“It’s so fun,” King said. “We have actual faerie performers, theatrical performers who come out as faeries and wander the event. It’s just fun and whimsical. No innuendo, just clean, kid fun with a renaissance theme to it.”
A number of vendors will be selling a variety of arts and crafts. Many plant vendors will be set up at the festival as well, King said. The event also attracts nonprofit and community organizations, which set up booths to share their mission with those attending.
Food and drinks will be available to purchase.
Entertainment includes live music throughout the day and the time-honored maypole dance, one for children and another for adults.
“The maypole is a big deal. It’s actually a may palm because it’s on a palm tree,” King said.
There are also plenty of activities to keep kids entertained.
“There’s sidewalk chalk art and there's bubbles placed all over the venue. So, any 20 feet, they can stop and blow bubbles or do some sidewalk art,” she said.
Springfest organizers also encourage visitors to dress up for the event.
“We’ve had entire families come dressed up as faeries—kids, moms, grandparents,” King said. “It’s just really sweet and fun.”