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MangoMania draws crowd

By Staff | Jul 11, 2010

Even the hot, sticky summer weather could not keep locals and visitors alike away from one of the most well-known fruit festivals of the year.
MangoMania 2010 kicked off Saturday at the German-American Social Club on Pine Island Road. The two-day event featured local agriculture with plant and fruit sales on site, as well as wares and crafts available from area businesses. Hosted by the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, the festival aims to raise awareness of the island.
Pine Island resident Eva Rosenquist, who attended Saturday with a friend, Matlacha resident Anna Pride, the event was quite larger than she last remembered. An island local for 23 years, Rosenquist said it had been years since she attended MangoMania.
The annual festival marked its 14th year this time around.
“It is a lot bigger,” she said. “More vendors.”
“I have to say, this is a better place to have it,” Rosenquist added.
The event was held on Pine Island before it relocated to the Cape Coral grounds.
Pride, a recent transplant to Matlacha, had never attended prior to Saturday.
“It’s nice,” she said of the festival. “A lot of variety.”
Pride tasted some of the free mangos offered at one booth, while Rosenquist picked up a handful of Hayden mangos to take home to enjoy. Taking a break from the afternoon sun to sit at a table under some shady trees, the woman said they still planned to look around some more. Pride noted that she wanted to look at some of the jewelry on display.
“It’s definitely worth coming down here to check it out,” Rosenquist said.
Also taking in MangoMania for the first time on Saturday were Cape residents Brandon and Jennifer Vallozzi and Jennifer’s father, Jack Bonner of Georgia. The Vallozzis explained that Bonner is visiting, and they decided to get out and enjoy the nice weather.
“It’s pretty neat,” Brandon Vallozzi said. “The horticulture is pretty neat.”
Brandon Vallozzi was pleasantly shocked to discover some booths were selling plants.
“I was surprised they had so many different items here,” he said.
Jennifer Vallozzi said they were still making their way around the grounds that afternoon, but she liked what she had seen so far. All three said they were definitely going to check out the seafood vendors, maybe try something, before heading out.
The festival also featured contests for attendees to participate in, like the World’s Longest Mango Throw, as well as seminars and workshops on mangos, growing fruit trees, making a rain barrel and more. Live entertainment was provided on both days.