Sarah Kalien came from Clearwater to party with the gecko crowd.
Sarah Kalien couldn’t get tickets for the August 16 Gecko Pub Crawl, but that didn’t stop her and a friend from tagging along with friends who did. Kalien called herself and her friend “pub crawl groupies.”
“We were very upset about [not getting tickets],” Kalien said Saturday night outside Little Tommies Tiki.
Two of their friends did buy tickets, but Kalien and others waited too long, and by the time they decided – Friday night – that they would attend the fundraiser bar crawl through Gulfport’s downtown, the event had sold out.
Last year, the Pub Crawl also sold out. The Gulfport Merchants Association, the force behind Gecko Season, organized the seventh annual crawl. This year, a $20 ticket bought a drink at one of six Gulfport eateries and bars: Neptune Grille, Little Tommies Tiki, Salty’s, Beach Haus, Mangia and O’Maddy’s. The ticket also served as a poker card, and at each location crawlers received their drink token from a volunteer “ambassador” and chose a playing card. At the after party at Salty’s, the best poker hand won a two-night stay at the Sirata on St. Pete Beach.
The Gulfport Merchants sold 200 tickets to the pub crawl, and by the end of the night, Linda Worsham, an ambassador at Little Tommies Tiki, had few drink tokens remaining from her bag of 200.
Revelers sipped draft beers and well drinks as they strolled through Gulfport. Many groups return every year for the event. One returning crawler recalled past years with affection, commenting about the year the crawl included hot dogs from Yummy’s.
"We liked it when they had all the extra stuff," Sarah McHenry, a St. Petersburg resident, said. “It was amazing. We still come, obviously. But the extras made us explore. It honestly made us learn about Gulfport, more than we did.”
McHenry said her group of crawlers grows every year.