Two-day fruit fest: MangoMania begins today
This weekend marks the 16th annual MangoMania Pine Island’s Tropical Fruit Festival, which will be held at the German American Social Club on Saturday and Sunday, highlighting everything mango for those who attend.
The festival will be held on July 21 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, July 22, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with an admission of $6 a ticket for adults and free for children 10 years old and younger.
Opening ceremonies will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, which will be followed by an educational program at 11 a.m. by Dr. Eileen Rowan of the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary and music by Stringtown at the same time on the main stage.
Joey LaMountain’s will talk about manatees at noon on Saturday; followed by Christine Johnson with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast at 1 p.m. Betsy Clayton will speak about the Lee County Calusa Blueway Trail at 2 p.m. followed by Doug Floweree with the Mango Factory at 3 p.m. The last educational program on Saturday will feature stand-up paddle boarding with Nick Paeno at 4 p.m.
The remaining entertainment for Saturday includes the Calendar Girls at 1 p.m., Lemongrass at 1:45 p.m. and Grupo Espanil at 4:45 p.m.
Other festivities to take place on Saturday at 10 a.m. include the recipe contest, which includes mango appetizers, jams and chutney. The contest is open to amateur cooks, chefs and restaurants.
The categories for the amateur contest include one loaf of mango bread; 1 pint jar of mango salsa, relish and chutney; four mango cookies or two servings of a dessert, 1 pint jar of mango jams, jellies or preserves, two servings of mango smoothie or one bottle of mango dressing or marinate.
The professional mango recipe contest includes two servings of a mango appetizer, one plate of a mango entree and two servings of a mango dessert.
Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Jennifer Jennings said Miceli’s Restaurant and Red’s Fresh Seafood House and Tavern had entered into the professional mango recipe contest as of last Friday.
She said the contest provides an opportunity for island businesses to promote their business.
“This is an opportunity with MangoMania,” she said.
The entries must be present at the main stage for judging by 9:45 a.m. Saturday, which does not include a fee to enter.
Sunday also will be packed with educational programs, entertainment and activities.
The educational programs on Sunday will kick off with Dr. Eileen Rowan with the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary at 11 a.m.; followed by Christine Johnson with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. Doug Floweree with the Mango Factory will speak at 1 p.m. and members from the Pine Island Garden Club will speak at 2 p.m. The last program of the day will conclude with seafood savvy Charles Hester who will speak about “why sustainable food.”
The three groups to perform on Sunday at the main stage include Torched at 11 a.m., Hot Flash Dancers at 1 p.m. and Soapbox at 2 p.m.
New to the event this year is the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce booth. Jennings said any business that would like to drop off their brochures and business cards are welcome to do so. She said there will be someone at the booth throughout both days to talk about Pine Island and the businesses.
The festival also will include children’s activities such as Look in the Mirror Creative Face Paining and Spotlight Amusement, which will include such things as a bounce house and rock wall.
MangoMania will also feature this year’s Mango Queen Cassy Skau, who will be participating in lots of activities.
A mango pie eating contest, longest mango throw, mango juggling contest, mango cornhole, as well as a generation gap relay, which is kids against parents, and Mr. Mango Head contest will also be included in MangoMania.
Many vendors will be set up during the festival to showcase plant and agriculture, business solutions, arts and crafts and non-profit organizations.
The food vendors will include Churros 2 Go featuring Churrios-Cinnamon Stiks; Joe’s Lemonade & More featuring mango pina colada, soft pretzels and corn dogs; KBB Concessions Inc. featuring 45 flavors of shaved ice and movie style popcorn; RCM Concessions featuring kettle corn and lemonade; Victoria’s Flavorzs Unlimited featuring a variety of smoothies; Canvas Vending featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, nachos and fried deserts; City Smoke Barbeque featuring BBQ and jalapeno pickles; Maria Rose featuring rice, fried plantains, chicken kebabs; Miceli’s Restaurant featuring bada bing shrimp and Sabor Latino featuring Cuban food.