Laticia Burt has a ball at Gulfport’s first Juneteenth celebration, hosted by the City of Gulfport and the Gulfport Kiwanis Club. Not every festival or special event that will take place in Gulfport in the coming fiscal year asked for approval at the Oct. 4 Council meeting, but don’t worry: Juneteenth can still happen, as can other special events.
As is its custom at the start of a new fiscal year, Gulfport City Council approved certain special events either sponsored or cosponsored by the City.
Among other things, the Oct. 4 approval allows Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly to offer event organizers specific services for each event, and it allows the event organizer – if they want it – to have alcohol in designated areas during their event. Festival organizers must adhere to Gulfport’s Human Rights Ordinance when conducting activities in concert with the City.
The festivals and other special events can also get waivers for certain City regulations, like the sale of goods; outdoor cooking and food sales on public property; amplified music; putting up traffic barricades; additional City-supplied trash services; temporary structures and banners in some locations; the availability of City employees for setup and to open or close restricted areas; police and fire/EMS personnel as deemed necessary by those departments’ respective chiefs; and trolley transportation.
After approval of the general resolution, Council approved three specific multi-day events in separate resolutions.
“These are two-day events, and given the impact of two-day events in the past, Council wanted to address them individually,” said City Manager Jim O’Reilly.
A request by Unity of Gulfport was approved for a proposed Eckerd College Beach Volleyball Clinic scheduled for Dec. 19-21 on the six permanent beach volleyball courts. This allows organizers to reserve the courts that are typically first-come, first-serve for those days. No temporary structures and no vendors are proposed for the request. Unity will pay $205.02 to Gulfport’s Leisure Services for the use of the six permanent volleyball courts for three days.
The Gulfport Merchants Chamber of Commerce received approval for the annual Fine Arts Festival, set for Feb. 11-12 at Veterans Park. The site plan calls for 35 vendors who will set up the afternoon of Feb. 10. The GMC is responsible for overnight security for the duration of the event.
Council also approved an application from VETSports, for its 11th annual charity beach volleyball tournament on Nov. 5-6. The organization asked for permission to build no more than 20 temporary volleyball courts on the beach. The event is in conjunction with the annual Veterans Day parade as well as the annual volleyball match between the City’s police and fire departments.
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