MangoMania:Tropical fruit festival set for this weekend
Mango jam, mango bread, mango everything will be featured this weekend as The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce’s 21st annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Festival takes over the grounds of the German American Club Saturday, and Sunday.
“The purpose of this annual event is to showcase all that Pine Island has to offer and to promote island growers and businesses,” Chamber Executive Director Jennifer Jennings said. “Each July people come from all over to celebrate the Pine Island mangos and fresh tropical fruit and also get a taste of being on ‘Island Time.'”
Hours for the annual event are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Following the opening ceremonies, the festival will start with the amateur and professional cooking contests held at the main stage at 10:30 a.m. All dishes will be prepared with mangos as the main ingredient.
Amateur categories include breads, salsa, chutneys, desserts, jams, smoothies and dressings. In the professional division, chefs will go head to head with an appetizer, entre and dessert. The contests are open to all ages. Entry forms are available on line at www.mangomaniafl.net ; they must be receiv ed no later than today.
On Saturday morning, 2017 Mango Queen Jessica Potts will assist children at her tent making hats for the Mango Hat Contest set for 11 a.m., followed by the Hat Parade. The crowd will be looking for the most creative, handcrafted hat. The parade starts at 11:45 at the Main Stage.
“A couple of years ago the Mango Pie Eating contest became so popular we decided to hold it twice,” Jennings said, “once on Saturday and again on Sunday. Kids also enjoy the Mr. Mango Head contest, Hula Hoop, Mango Juggling and Mango Toss.
“We have over 120 vendors, many of them local, for people to shop,” Jennings continue. “We have Traders Hitching Post with their unique Native American jewelry, turquoise and silver bracelets, all hand crafted; J.M.C Landscaping with fresh off the tree coconut drinks, mango trees, palms and yard plants; C. W. Fudge Factory, with special flavored popcorn and fudges; and Pine Island Spice with their barbecue sauces, spices. We’ll also have Gulf Coast Kayak with information on guided tours and the Pine Island Calusa Blueway.”
Local restaurants will be serving food: Olde Fish House Marina will be on hand with its fish tacos w/ mango salsa, smoked fish dip, grouper or snapper fish wraps, shrimp cakes and more. Patch Belly BBQ will have pulled pork and smoked chicken and wings; and Caribbean food will be available from Caribbean Flair International Grill with Jamaican jerk pork and chicken and conch fritters, all with the Mango flair.
“All things mango from mango smoothies, mango ice cream and mango tea,” Jennings said. “For adults, we’ll have mango beer, frozen margaritas, mango rum drink and more. Remember it’s ‘All about the Mango.'”
Music will be provided by Ayla Lynne, Mike Imbasciani & The Bluez Rockerz, Neon Summer, Brotherly Love and Cooter Creek Bluegrass.
“This is also the first year The Greater Pine Island Kiwanis Club will hold their Mango Drop,” Jennings said. “The Kiwanis Club is celebrating its 40th year and will have booths at the event to sell their mango drop tickets. You’ll have a chance to win $1,000 and help contribute to their scholarship fund.”
Tickets are $6 for adults ($5 in advance; available online at mangomaniafl.net or stop by the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center at 3640 Pine Island Road, Matlacha). Children under 10 are free.
The German American Social Club is at 2101 SW Pine Island Rd.