GULFPORT — For 15 years, Gulfport’s Get Rescued, an animal rescue street festival, has supported dogs, cats and other creatures in need by collecting pet food and encouraging people to adopt (rather than shop for) their next fuzzy (or feathered or scaly) friend.
This year’s event will take place Saturday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with vendors and around 50 pet rescue organizations set up along Beach Boulevard in downtown Gulfport.
“This is an amazing event with so much going on,” said event organizer Suzie King, who owns SIK Promotions. “It’s four city blocks long with retailers, rescue groups and arts and crafts.”
Space for the rescue nonprofits, which travel to Gulfport from all over the state for the event, is free, but businesses can sponsor a group for $75.
Salty’s, 5413 Shore Blvd. S., will host a Bark-B-Que throughout Get Rescued. Get a burger or two hots dogs with chips and a soda for a $5 donation. All-natural frozen pup treats will be available for a $2 donation as well.
Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd. S., will be open all afternoon as a drop-off point for pet supplies and funds to purchase cat and dog food.
All money raised and supplies collected at the event is donated back to the participating rescue organizations, King said.
“We do everything we can to raise as much money as we can to give back to them,” she said. “We’re basically paying them to be there.”
Local businesses have even gotten into the spirit of the event, King added. Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market raised $500 through a raffle while Gulfport Realty raised funds by setting up a holiday gift shop. Vet with Hart, a veterinary house call practice, also donates to Get Rescued.
Other local businesses have also stepped up to sponsor the event, including Bark Life, The New Barker magazine and the Tampa Bay Times, and also larger national chains, such as Pet Supplies Plus and PetSafe.
It’s not too late to sponsor a rescue organization or sign up as a vendor for the event.
For more information about Gulfport’s Get Rescued, visit www.facebook.com/getrescued.