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Annual MangoMania draws a good crowd

By Staff | Aug 1, 2011

MangoMania is an opportunity for Pine Islanders to show not only what they have to offer in delicious fruits and other goods, but also their friendliness and hospitality.

Hundreds of people packed the grounds of the German American Social Club over the weekend to experience all things Pine Island. And despite the scorching heat, mangos were tasted, adult beverages were sampled and entertainment filled the stage as everyone had a great time.

“It’s about more than just mangos,” said Mango Queen Melissa Jo Koferi. “It’s about promoting tourism and promoting Pine Island and everything we have to offer.”

A fourth generation Pine Islander, Koferi said she missed the days when MangoMania was held on the island but added that the event just got too big and needed more room.

This year, people were traveling from Sarasota and the east coast of the state, Koferi said. Showing visitors what Pine Island has to offer was what it’s all about, she added.

“I’m telling people to come and visit the island and see what we have to offer,” Koferi added.

Frank Graofolo traveled from Naples to check out the event and walked away a little disappointed.

The event was a success, he said, but he missed the days when it was on Pine Island and focused more on the vaunted mango, instead of other family oriented fun.

Also a Florida Master Gardener, Graofolo said he missed being able to sample a variety of mangos like in years past.

“There’s fewer mangos but that’s OK. It’s serving families with kids,” Graofolo said. “You can’t please everyone so you need to please the masses.”

John Koferi, Melissa’s husband, said the spirit of Pine Island was evident during this year’s MangoMania and that visitors to the event were going to walk away with a true sense of what Pine Island is all about.

“It’s real island time out there,” John said. “We’re all down to earth people.”

Melissa added, “It’s a real neighborhood community.”