This year’s 2014 event started off with the singing of the National Anthem by "Trailer Park Barbie." Then the Pledge of Allegiance was recited with the colors being presented by Commander Frank Trauger, Rick Alvarez, Dick Thomas and Peter Trazzera of Pine Island VFW Post 4353.
"A week ago we only had less than 60 vendors, but with the help of GPICC Board member Pat Burman, owner of Ad&PrintCraft, we worked many long hours for the last week before the event and we were able to bring in almost 100 different kinds of vendors this year. We also had a great turnout of our local restaurants. Olde Fish House Mariana & Restaurant, Mulletville and Salt Water Smoke House restaurants were some of our local restaurants.” said Jennifer Jennings, Chamber Executive Director and event coordinator. Salt Water Smoke House a new business to the island and new member of the GPICC said, “We will be back next year.”
Susan Clark from Tampa entered the adult Pie Eating contest, “Well I didn’t win but it was fun. I came with 6 of my friends to spend the day and eat mangos. It has been a blast. The people running the event are so helpful. We learned a lot about mangos and have two full bags of fresh mangos to take home. Tampa was one of the areas that had a shortage this year, so we were happy to see MangoMania had mangos like they advertised. We have already made plans for next year.”
“This year’s MangoMania was the best in a decade. Clear skies and an over whelming supply of Pine Island Mangos”, said Steve Timcak past president of the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and owner of Island Visions Gallery. “I worked the Tasting Table for the two day event, never stopped cutting mangos and the people were lined up for hours both days. We offered our visitors four to five different verities of mangos,” said Timcak.
The air was full of the smells of cooking shrimp taco’s, crab cakes, pulled pork, smoked sausage and much more. New this year was homemade fudge from CW Fudge Factory in Matlacha, and freshly cut coconuts full of coconut milk from J.M.C. Landscaping. J.M.C Landscaping, a new member of the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and major sponsor of MangoMania 2014 was very pleased with the event. Along with the coconuts were freshly cut pineapples, filled to the top with pineapple juice. The event offered a huge variety of foods, drinks, entertainment, contests and the Free Tasting table, which you don’t get anywhere else.
Mary Ann Frank from Tampa said, “We brought our entire family plus 12 of our closest friends this year. We saw the article in our local paper and had nothing else that sounded this much fun, so we all got into a van and car and headed to Pine Island. We are happy to say the event delivered what they advertised, which isn’t always the case when you plan a trip. We have already decided to attend next year. We were also told about an event on Pine Island in January “Taste of Pine Island” we will all be attending that event. What a great bunch of people.”
Attendees were greeted by the Mango Queen Valerie Hedman and MangoMania mascot Matt Mango. Valerie ran all the kid’s contest and games, such as the hat decorating contest and the hat parade, followed by the generation gap relay, Mango Head contest, (where you decorate a mango), Mango juggling, Mango Corn Hole and the ever popular and the Hula Hoop contest.
Hedman was a busy Queen. Not only did she perform all of the duties of the MangoMania Queen, but she picked over 2000 pounds of mangos from her fields in Bokeelia and sold them at MangoMania. “We were not experiencing any kind of shortages; We had so many mangos our cows were eating them right off the trees”, said Hedman.
2014 food contest judges were Sue Trimble, volunteers at the Pine Island Chamber, Billy Crooks from 94.5 Arrow and Julian Glover Fox 4.
MangoMania food contest winners
Amateur Winners Jellies and Jams • 1st Place - Valerie Hedman • 2nd Place - Beth Smith
• 3rd Place - Juan Capastrano
Amateur Winners - Chutneys/Relish/Salsa • 1st Place - Ron Sullivan • 2nd Place - April Gifford
• Bread - Cindy Raskin
Cookies - • First Place Marlene Everly, • Second Place Ron Sullivan • Third Place April Gifford
Professional Winners - Mango Appetizers • 1st Place - Red's• 2nd Place - Saltwater Smokehouse • 3rd Place - Olde Fish House
Professional Winners – Entrée • 1st Place - Saltwater Smokehouse • 2nd Place - Red's
• 3rd Place - Olde Fish House
Professional Winners - Mango Dessert • 1st Place - CW Fudge • 2nd Place – Mullettville
• 3rd Place - CW Fudge
The word went out that signups started for the first Pie Eating Contest held at the main stage on Saturday afternoon. Jennings said, “we had so many entries, we were forced to have two different categories, one for the kid’s and one for the adults. The pie eating contest has gotten so popular everyone wants to be a part of it.”
Sunday, July 20th there was 20 adult signed up for the pie eating contest. It’s a blast for all who participate in it and for those who watched.
The event offered plenty of entertainment Saturday highlighted artist Strange Arrangement, Trailer Park Barbie and the Boys, Hip Nauticals. Sunday was The Wholetones, Strange Arrangement, Bonham528.
After a little music and food it was time to do some shopping with the local vendors that filled the park: Traders Hitching Post with her unique Native American jewelry, turquoise and silver bracelets all hand crafted. Great Licks Ice Cream with his special recipe of Mango Ice Cream, Paradise Garden with fresh jams and jellies, Olde Fish House Marina, with shrimp taco’s and crab cakes, Mulletville in Matlacha and Salt Water Smoke House in St. James City, Cupcake Express, served fresh baked cupcakes right out of the oven, Arts Produce with fresh veggies and J.M.C Landscaping with fresh off the tree coconut drinks, mango trees, palms and yard plants, CW Fudge Factory with homemade fudge and Pine Island Spice who sold out of their new BBQ sauce. This is just a few of the vendors who participated in MangoMania 2014.
The event ran out of a few varieties of mangos on Saturday, but vendors restocked for those who attended Sunday. It was reported all over “that SW Florida had no mangos.” It was not the case at MangoMania where there were plenty different varieties of mangos.
"MangoMania went very well," Jennings said. "Everyone worked very hard to make this event the most successful one in 10 years. In spite of the heat it was a beautiful weekend. Most people said it was a lot of fun. A lot of people came prepared with rain gear and umbrellas in hand, but didn’t need it this year, it’s always hot but this weekend was sunny. Plans are already in the works for 2015, the 19th Annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Festival.”
The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and the MangoMania Committee would like to extend a huge thank you to the sponsors of the event.
• The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel • LCEC (Lee County Electric Company) • Tarpon Lodge • Waste Pro (for recycle and trash removal) • The News-Press (advertising) • Ad&PrintCraft (event marketing and program guide) • Honc Construction • Budweiser (Suncoast Beverages)
• J.M.C. Landscaping, LLC. • Pine Island Eagle/Cape Coral Breeze.
Thank you to all the advertising in the 2014 MangoMania Program Guide:
• Ad&PrintCraft of SW FL • Alden Pines Golf Course • Anna Riehm DeMeo - Realty World
• April Gifford - Coastal Realty • Beachouse Lodge • Bokeelia Fishing Pier
• Cambio Dermatology • Capt’n Con’s Restaurant • Captain Dobson, Sheriff’s Dept.
• Center Bait & Tackle • Champion Self Storage • CW Fudge Factory
• German American Social Club • Gifford Island Repair • Great Licks Ice Cream
• Gulf Coast Kayak • Home Service by Rafael • Honc Industries • Impact Doors & Windows
• Jay R. Johnson - Coastal Realty • J.M.C. Landscaping • JWJ & Associates Tax & Accounting Services • Knolls Court Motel • Marlin Plumbing • Matlacha Cottages • Matlacha Managerie
• Modern Woodmen • Old Fish House Marina & Restaurant • Pine Island Animal Clinic
• Pine Island KOA • Pine Island Plumbing • Pine Island Realty, Inc.
• Pine Island Tax & Accounting • PineIslandNews.com • Pine Island Spice
• Sandy Hook Fish & Rib House • Stonegate Bank • Tarpon Lodge • Traders Hitching Post
• Wounded Warriors • WZQR.FM
The committee along with the GPICC Board would like to thank all the volunteers who worked so hard to make MangoMania 2014 so successful. Without their dedication and help the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce would find it very hard to run this event.
The GPICC would like to extend a special thank you to Lisa Dence, manager of Olde Fish House Marina and Restaurant for allowing the GPICC to setup an office at Olde Fish House Marina & Restaurant while waiting for the final completion of the new building.
MangoMania committee and the Board of Directors thank all for coming and hope to see you all in 2015. Come and spend a day on our beautiful Island “we don’t charge a fee to cross our bridge & the sunset if also free.”