The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is again preparing to hold the 18th Annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair, with the After-Hours Card Exchange that was also the MangoMania 2014 Kick-Off party. Jennifer Jennings, executive director of the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center and MangoMania coordinator, said at Thursday’s kick-off party, "The purpose today is to get all of our vendors in place, and to announce to our community that it is MangoMania planning time; to also re-introduce our new Mango Queen - Valerie Hedman - to the Greater Pine Island area."
The hosts of the kick-off were CW Fudge Factory, who featured his homemade Mango Fudge, Modern Woodmen, Fraternal Financial, Olde Fish House who prepared the great food, fresh right off the boat Pine Island Shrimp, crab & shrimp cakes, chicken wings and chicken sandwiches, and Perfect Cup who provided chairs and parking for the guests.
The Queen and party guests were all asked to get a mango out of a bag and walk to the little bridge in Matlahca and be a part of the Blessing of the Mango for MangoMania 2014.
The mango festival is Pine Island’s and Lee County’s featured summer attraction. MangoMania is the place to go wild for fruit as you walk the event grounds and sample locally-grown tropical fruits, food, deserts and drinks.
The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce will have two large tents at the event with all kinds of local grown fruits and, of course, Mangos. MangoMania is a celebration of all the tropical fruit grown on Pine Island which includes Lychee, Carambola, Longan, Papaya and Chocolate Pudding Fruit. Vendors will be featuring exotic fruit trees, and fruit-related products will be available for purchase. The festival also offers live music, kid’s activities and rides.
Come out for the Mango Pie eating contest which is always a blast. This year the contest will be broken up into adults and kids to make it fair for all ages to compete. The event will also feature a Hula Hoop contest, Mango Hat decorated contest and Hat Parade, Mango corn hole contest, Mango Generation Gap Relay, Mr. Mango Head Contest, Mango Juggling contest, Largest Mango contest and our Professional & Amateur Mango food contest.
This year they have added a new attraction which is the Mango Spin Raffle. This is new to the event and will be a lot of fun. Purchase a Mango Spin Raffle Ticket, one for $5 or 5 for $20. The tickets will be placed in a large Mango Spinner at the main stage on Sunday around 5:00 PM. We then have the Mango Queen Spin those Mango Tickets. Third place winner gets $250. The second ticket pulled will win $750 and the Third ticket pulled will be this year’s grand winner of the Mango Spin Raffle and win $1000. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online at www.MangoMania.com
But if this isn’t enough, then we’ve got two full days of live entertainment by the HipNauticals, Gators in the Sawgrass, Bonham 528, Trailer Park Barbie and the Boys, Calendar Girls and Hot Flashz, something for everyone, meet this year’s MangoMania Queen Valerie Hedman. "This is very exciting for me," Valerie said. "Someone has to nominate you for Queen, you then go before the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for an interview, and then the entire Board votes on who they feel would represent our beautiful Island, the MangoMania event, and our area."
Hedman is a full-time resident of Bokeelia and lives on her family's farm where they raise palm trees, livestock and, of course, mango trees. She did participate in MangoMania 2013, local Farmers Markets and events as a vendor selling her Island Mom's Jams.
Saturday, July 19th - 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 20th - 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
For more information about the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce or the 18th Annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Fair call Jennifer Jennings at 239-283-0888 or log onto www.MangoManiaFL.com