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MangoMania ready to reign with new royalty at the helm

By Staff | Jul 10, 2010

With MangoMania 2010 to kick off today, the Mango Queen and King want residents to know that there are a few new aspects to this year’s event.
Carie Call, of Bookelia, was elected Mango Queen, while Cape Coral resident Richard Smith will serve as Mango King for this weekend’s festivities. Call, an environmental planner with Pine Island Consulting Inc., talked to the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce about going green after winning the crown.
“We are recycling for the first time,” she said.
This is the 14th year that MangoMania has been held.
The event will use solar-generated power, and green builders and planners from around the county have been invited to set up booths next to the usual fruit vendors, tasting stations and local restaurants. Information will include water conservation, green building, planning walkable communities and more.
“We’re taking it a step beyond usual by turning it into a green event,” she said.
The reaction from organizers and the community has been positive.
“A lot of people have been very happy,” Call said. “We were really thrilled that people are open to us.”
Also new this year is Mat Mango, the mascot for the 2010 MangoMania. “Mat Mango” will visit with the children during the festival, according to Smith, who will be doing double duty as the king and the mascot. Follow Mat Mango online at Facebook. Just log on, search for “Mat Mango” and add him as a “friend.”
Smith added that Mat Mango had more than 700 friends as of Friday.
Another aspect worth noting about the 2010 event is that the vendors are coming from further away than in previous years. Call traveled from Naples to Port Charlotte to talk to different businesses and organizations to raise awareness about the festival and expand participation among area vendors.
“We’re really trying to expand our outreach and let people know we have a beautiful island,” she said. “We want people to know.”
According to Smith, the entertainment lineup is longer this year as well. Last year about a “handful” of groups performed, compared to the “dozen” that will take the stage this weekend, he said. One group is Deb and the Dynamics.
“It’s going to be fun,” Smith said. “It’s going to be live, and it’s going to be out there and it’s going to a force to be reckoned with.”
MangoMania features area agriculture, including fruit and plant sales, as well as restaurants, food vendors, live music and educational seminars. There are children’s activities for the youth, and contests like the longest mango throw for attendees to participate in. Also, a parade spotlights the queen and king.
About 8,000 people attended last year, Smith said. Organizers are expecting more than 10,000 people to show up for this weekend’s festival.
“It’s a real fun event. It’s a family event,” Call said. “Lots of culture, lots of diversity.”
Both Call and Smith were crowned royalty for the first time this year.
“I am very proud to be ambassador to the Pine Island agriculture and businesses,” she said. “I’m just very proud to be the Mango Queen, to promote business and agriculture on Pine Island and in Lee County.”
Smith called the title of Mango King an “absolute honor.”
“It is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It’s a good way for me to be able to boost, support the rest of the community.”
MangoMania runs from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at the German-American Social Club, located at 2101 Pine Island Road. The cost of admission for adults is $6 and children under 10 are admitted free.
For more information about MangoMania, visit: floridascreativecoast.com.