Gulfport Special Events Imperiled


Gulfport's October Events in Peril

With two city co-sponsored events less than five weeks away, Gulfport city council postponed approving the coming fiscal years' slate of special events until council could workshop mandating a child-specific requirement at each event as well as other stipulations, including limiting the wet area for alcoholic beverages. The council's next workshop will come after two events: the Gulfport Neighbors' Day of Caring and the Gulfport Historical Society's Birthday Bash.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, Ward Three Councilwoman Jennifer Salmon told fellow councilmembers she wanted city co-sponsored events to include a mandatory kids area, register with the state as a nonprofit organization, and restrict alcohol consumption to certain areas during these events. Councilwoman Salmon cited a lack of kids events at the past GeckoFest in conjunction with her wish to mandate child-friendly activities at all daytime events co-sponsored by the city; she also expressed a desire to limit the geographic boundaries of alcohol consumption at special events.

After several minutes of listening to her arguments, Mayor Sam Henderson suggested tabling the issue for a workshop, suggesting that prolonged discussion would ultimately lead to such a workshop. Councilwoman Salmon wanted to discuss her proposed changes at the council meeting, but Mayor Henderson passed the gavel to the vice mayor to offer a second to the motion to table. Council approved tabling the coming fiscal year's special events until the next workshop in late October.

Before that workshop, though, the city has several tentatively scheduled events council failed to debate or approve or disapprove Tuesday evening: the Gulfport Birthday Bash, on October 12, and the Gulfport Neighbors' Day of Caring the following week. In addition, standbys that draw crowds from outside Gulfport lack approval: the next few Tuesday Markets and ArtWalks need city approval to take place.

Although City Manager Jim O'Reilly has the authority to approve some events, others will require council approval, not his, he said after Tuesday night's meeting.

Read more from: Gulfport News