The city is going to light up Gulf Islands Waterpark for Halloween with LED cobwebs, spiders and glowing ghouls supplied by the same vendor that created computerized displays for the Harbor Lights Winter Festival through the Christmas season in Jones Park and the harbor.
Universal Concepts, an Atlanta, Ga., company, is donating to the city Halloween lights that were valued at $300,000, said David D’Aquilla, Gulfport’s leisure services director. D’Aquilla said the lights had been used at Lake Lanier Island Resort in Georgia for its Haunted Nights of Lights.
He said the city expects to spend $50,000 to $60,000, mostly to put new LED bulbs in the Halloween figurines.
“It's going to give us an activity north of Interstate 10,” D’Aquilla said, “so it puts us up in the North Gulfport, Orange Grove area rather than Jones Park.”
The Halloween light show will run for the month of October. Gulf Islands Waterpark will provide concessions and staffing. The water park’s zip line will be open, too, D’Aquilla said.
The water park’s aquatic features close for the winter, although it is open on weekends through Sept. 11.
D’Aquilla said the city is partnering with the water park not only to create a holiday activity north of the interstate, but also because it has plenty of parking, controlled access and security. The city and waterpark with share the entry fee, which hasn’t been set.
D’Aquilla said he expects the price will be similar to the harbor lights show, which was $5 per person or $20 a car.
The city is planning family activities for the Halloween show that will be announced later.
“It’s going to be a fun Halloween feel,” D’Aquilla said. “It used to be Halloween was a one-night thing. Now, they've got haunted houses all over the place.”