Island chamber crowns 2011 Mango Queen
After having searched the kingdom of Pine Island far and wide, last week the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce officially crowned its Mango Queen for 2011. During the monthly Chamber After-Hours Card Exchange on April 21, it was announced that Melissa Jo Koferi was crowned Mango Queen 2011.
Queen Koferi is a fourth generation Pine Islander and grew up in a traditional fishing family. Like many of her family members, Melissa owned her first boat even before she owned her first car. Today, Koferi is an employee of the SunTrust Pine Island branch and serves customers in both the loan department and in customer savings.
Losa Benton, executive director of the chamber, said she feels the selection committee made a very good choice for this year’s Mango Queen.
“I know that Melissa will be very energetic in promoting MangoMania and Pine Island,” Benton said.
Among her duties, Koferi will be making numerous appearances on Pine Island as well as throughout Lee County. She will appear before the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourism Development Council as well as other public venues. She also will ride upon the chamber of commerce float in the upcoming Fourth of July parade sponsored by the Pine Island American Legion and will be available for television and radio interviews.
Koferi joins the ranks of other noted past queens: Susan Corry, who served as the first Mango Queen in 1999; Nancy Goodwin, 2000 queen; Heidi Talbott, 2001; Nicole Ashmore, 2002; Jennifer Jennings, 2003; Kim Foures, 2004; Betsy Clayton, 2005; Theresa Roach, 2006; Tonya Player, 2007; Lynn Berreitter, 2008; Robin Lilly, 2009; and last year’s queen, Carie Call 2010.
The first responsibility for Koferi will be to host the MangoMania kick-off party scheduled for Thursday, May 19, at Four Winds Marina in Bokeelia. In addition to greeting her public, Koferi will be joined for the evening by Mango King Richard and together they will lead the annual “Gift to the Hurricane Gods.” This ceremony, said to appease the gods and ensure good weather for the two-day MangoMania Tropical Fruit Festival, is held each year when tropical fruit is ceremoniously tossed into the waters of Pine Island Sound as an offering. Also during the kick-off celebration, the winners of this year’s MangoMania art contest will be announced. Winners will be announced for both the adult and children’s art competition. The design selected from the adult entries will be used by the chamber to promote the 2011 on official event T-shirts as well as other promotional material such as fliers, posters or print ads. In addition to bragging rights, the adult winner also will be awarded a $300 cash prize. The winning design from the children’s competition will receive a $50 cash prize and his or her design will appear on the children’s sized T-shirts for MangoMania.
MangoMania is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31, at the German American Club in Cape Coral. For more information, visit the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce website at pineislandchamber.org