Event Day Information

GCDSS Buddy Walk®& Drive Thru Parade 

Gulfport Sportsplex

Saturday, October 16, 2021
Parade Start: 1:00 pm

 Buddy Walk and Drive Through Parade Information

Location: Gulfport Sportsplex located at 17200 16th Street, Gulfport, MS.  If you are traveling I-10 you can exit at Canal Road or Highway 49.  There will be signage leading you to the Sportsplex area.  Area is located directly across from Gulf Islands Waterpark at the Soccer Fields. 

Time:  Lineup at Noon and parade begins at 1:00 PM.

No pets allowed on the property.  (Service animals, of course, excluded).

General Parking: Teams, family, and friends please park in the parking lot of the waterpark.  You may also park in front of the soccer fields to the right of the building.  

Parade Route:  Lineup will be in parking lot in front of the soccer fields to the left of the building. Cones will be placed to help guide and we will have volunteers directing.  It will be the same route as last year.  Each car will stop in front of the stage.  We would like for the cars to continue out of the U and circle back through the lineup area to make their way through the route a second time.   It is important to check in at the GCDSS Tent if you have a car in the parade route.  We will need you to fill out some information that will be used by the MC. 

Team Captains:  Please check in at the GCDSS Tent located in the middle of the parking lot. Additional donations can be turned in at this tent.  We need you to fill out an information page for the MC.

Teams, Family, and Friends:  This year we are encouraging our teams to cheer on our friends with Down syndrome from the sidelines.  Our participants/buddies want to see your smiling faces cheering them on as they drive through. GCDSS will provide each team with a large sign with their buddy’s team name.  Please locate your team sign and stand in that designated area.  We will post the signs on the fences inside of the U lining the parking lot where the stage is located. We divided the U parking lot with tables running down the middle.  There will be large team signs hanging on each side of the tables.  We welcome signs and shakers to cheer on our buddies.  Don’t forget to bring a chair if you wish to sit!

*If you are not comfortable or feel safe standing on the sidelines and cheering on the participants/buddies, you are welcome to drive in a car behind your buddy’s car and participate in the drive through. 

Participants/Buddies: There will be volunteers to guide you through the route.  Feel free to get in line and decorate your car.  At GCDSS Tent/ check in table, you will fill out the information form about your child/adult with Down syndrome.  There will be a large number attached to the form.  After you complete the form leave it with the volunteer at the GCDSS Tent. Detach the number and place it on the dashboard of your car so it can be easily seen from the stage.  We will be able to match your number with the card you filled out for the MC to recognize each participant.  Each car will stop in front of the stage.  The buddy will be allowed to get out of the car if they choose to receive the medal and pose for a quick picture in front of the stage 0R they can receive the medal in the car and pose for a photo in the car. You may leave the parade or continue to go through the route again.  Please leave your number on the dashboard if you continue through the route again.  Our MC will announce only the buddy’s name a second time. 

Volunteers: All of you are WONDERFUL and we thank you very much for volunteering your time to help us.  Please report to the volunteer table upon arrival for your instructions and directions.  Our largest need is having enough muscles to set up and tear down post parade.  Please visit our volunteer section on the website to sign up so we can know who all is coming to lend a helping hand this year.

T-Shirts:   If there are any t-shirts remaining after the t-shirt distribution, shirts will be available to purchase for $10 on a first come-first serve basis at the GCDSS Tent. Venmo is available.  There will be a QR Code at the table for your convenience. 

Water:  We will provide free of charge and serve by a fantastic group of volunteers.

Photography: We welcome back Leo Ridge Photography, owner of Snaparazzi.  A couple of photographers will be walking by the cars and throughout the parade route taking snapshots.  A link of the photos will be provided on our website after the event. 

Please feel free to take team, friends, and family photos in front of the stage after the drive through parade has ended.