Reptilian Gulfport fun — Gecko Crawl and Poker Run

The events kick off the town's annual bohemian art and party season Aug. 7-8.

Why wouldn't geckos and booze and poker go together?

Because Gulfport, that's why.

It's just that sort of town, especially when Gecko season officially commences the first full weekend of August.

First, there's the the Gecko Art Show Opening Reception at the Catherine Hickman Theater on Aug. 7, and again with the Gecko Pub Crawl Saturday, Aug. 8, throughout Gulfport's restaurant and entertainment centric downtown. 

Straight from our Gecko Guide, your guide to all things Gulfport Gecko-y, here's what you need to know to make the most of Gulfport this weekend. Because, well, Gulfport.

Gecko Artists Show Opening Reception: Every year local artists create geckos for a charity auction. Before going to nine of the highest bidders at Gecko Balls, the artists display their geckos around town. The Gecko Artist's Show will feature photos of those (typically slightly postmodern and wonderfully outrageous) geckos alongside each artist's primary body of work. Gecko artists include Janet Folsom, Denise Keegan, Lenne Nicklaus-Ball, Owen Pach, Tom Pitzen, John Ricci, Jonathan Schork, Frank Strunk III and Matt Worsham. 

Gecko Pub Crawl: Drink and walk, people, drink and walk. "Crawl" your way through Gulfport's entertainment district, stopping (in no particular order) at Little Tommie’s Tiki, Mangia Gourmet, Neptune Grille, O’Maddy’s, Peninsula Inn and Salty’s (one drink of the establishment's choosing included in the ticket price). At each location, collect a playing card as part of the town-wide, night-long five card stud stud game. Crawlers can by another card when they check in at O'Maddy's at the end of the night (by 9:30 p.m.) and the best hand, worst hand, and random grand prize winner will get prizes that include a two-night stay at various beach hotels and a sunset cruise.

The crawl ends with a street party at O'Maddy's, who will donate a portion of the proceeds to Gulfport’s Michael J. Yakes Foundation, an organization focused on assisting Gulfport's less fortunate elderly and young. Takes place along Beach and Shore boulevards South in Gulfport, Aug. 8, 4-9 p.m. 

More GeckoFest info at


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Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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