Kickoff set for 13th Annual MangoMania
Each year, MangoMania attracts thousands of revelers to the German American Club for a weekend of fun activities and celebration of tropical fruits.
Mangoes and other fruits are served as drinks, salads, desserts and other delicacies. Books of recipes are available, and trees and fruits are present for purchase.
The kick off for MangoMania, organized by the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, will take place Thursday following the chamber’s 6 p.m. “After-hours Business Card Exchange” at Earth and Spirit Garden Gallery on Maria Drive in St. James City.
The crowning of this year’s Mango King and Queen will take place then. Until that time, no one knows who will be wearing the crowns, said Lisa Benton, executive director of the chamber and chairman of MangoMania.
The winner of the art for T-shirts and advertising will be announced, and T-shirts will be distributed to those who will volunteer for the event. Music, door prizes and more will also fill the evening.
The 13th Annual MangoMania will be held July 11-12. Festivities start at 9 a.m. It closes at 5 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is free for children under 10 and $6 for others at the German American Club, 2101 Pine Island Road. Advance tickets are $5 and can be obtained at the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, 3640 Pine Island Road, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Advance tickets also are available at TIB Bank branches.
MangoMania is truly a family affair.
“For the children’s activities this year we are trying to make it more ‘hands-on activities’ where the children and other members of the family can participate together,” Benton said.
In addition to tropical fruits for sale, there will be an array of plants such as bromeliads, hibiscus and butterfly plants.
“We have a few speakers lined up to talk about the care and maintenance of these plants,” she said.
In the food court, a variety of dishes will be found, from seafood to meat cooked on the grill. There will be Greek and Hispanic cuisine, fruit smoothies, fresh lemonade, mango juice and more.
Benton said among the entertainers will be the Hot Flashz, a women’s dance group. Annie Wenz will sing and play guitar, keyboard and flute. Among the bands will be Dogfish and Captiva Band on Saturday, and The Bombalero and Skeeterland Blue Grass on Sunday.
“It is a family-oriented event,” she said. “There is something for everybody — arts and crafts, children activities, music, food. It reaches all ages. The purpose is sort of two-fold. It is to promote the island and to bring tourists in Pine Island during the summer. It also raises funds to keep this welcome center open year-round.”
The chamber building is also operating as a welcome center. It is located on the south side of Pine Island Road, just west of the intersection with Burnt Store Road.
As early as February, the chamber starts preparing for MangoMania. In March, advance publicity began, volunteers were sought and marketing got under way.
For more information on the event and others, visit: www.floridascreativecoast.com.