Election season has taken an adorable turn in Gulfport as ten candidates compete for the coveted title of pet mayor. Organized by Gulfport Arts and Heritage, this unique event serves as a fundraiser for both the Friends of Strays Animal Shelter in St. Petersburg and local arts initiatives. The idea originated from a desire to merge community engagement with philanthropy, leveraging Gulfport’s reputation as a pet-friendly town to drive support for important causes.
Friends of Strays, in particular, stands to benefit greatly from the election proceeds, as they work towards expanding their shelter and finalizing renovations for a cat adoption center. Jessica Salmond, the shelter’s communications and marketing manager, emphasizes the significance of community support in sustaining their operations. With Gulfport’s pet mayor race drawing attention to rescue efforts, Salmond hopes to raise awareness about the importance of adopting animals from local shelters and rescues.
Voting in the pet mayor election is open to all, with each vote costing $1 and unlimited voting allowed. Ballot boxes are conveniently located at various businesses in and around Gulfport, as well as at community hubs such as the Gulfport Public Library and Senior Center. Additionally, online voting is available through the Gulfport Historical Society’s website. As the race heats up, Gulfport residents find themselves charmed by the diverse array of candidates, many of whom are rescues themselves.
With polls set to close on February 21st, excitement is mounting as Gulfport aims to surpass last year’s fundraising efforts of $6,000. Amanda Hagood, a board member of Gulfport Arts and Heritage, expresses optimism about reaching their $10,000 goal this year. For Hagood and the Gulfport community, the pet mayor election represents not only a fun-filled event but also a meaningful opportunity to support causes that enrich and enhance the fabric of their town.
It's election season in Gulfport, but the campaign trail looks a little different. Gulfport Arts & Heritage runs the Gulfport Pet Mayor election, and it shares the money from votes with Friends of Strays Animal Shelter. Polls close Feb. 21. pic.twitter.com/OqFrDR6SkS
— Kailey Tracy Fox 13 (@KaileyTracy) February 7, 2024