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MangoMania set for July 17 on Pine Island

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Jul 15, 2021

pleblanc@breezenewspapers.com

The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce will hold MangoMania event this Saturday, July 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church — back on the island where it began over 20 years ago.

MangoMania is a big fundraiser and over the years, proceeds from the event have gone a long way toward helping maintain the chamber.

“I’m very excited that the event is back on the island,” said Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce board member Cynthia Welch.

Because of the pandemic, the two-day event was cancelled in 2020, and has now become a “mini” one-day event this year. In most recent years, MangoMania has been held in Cape Coral on the grounds of the German American Club.

Since the chamber has sold the building it had on Pine Island Road, they find themselves in a different position financially. Revenue now, says Welch, is primarily for promotion of both the island and chamber members. The two-day event, says Welch, was too hard on members, who are business people with likely reduced staff for the summer, too busy with their own work to volunteer to help with the event.

“We thought if we downsize and make it smaller, we wouldn’t need as many volunteers,” said Welch. “Also, everyone has wanted us to bring the event back to the island.”

This year’s MangoMania tropical fruit festival, Welch said, will include, among other things, live musical entertainment; family activities; and food contests, where you can enter your very own homemade mango-jam or mango-bread, to see if yours is the best Pine Island has to offer. There will also be, as always, a crowned Mango Queen.

Current Mango Queen and Matlacha Hookers Madame DJ Ruscik said she is thrilled to see the event back on Pine Island.

“I’m really looking forward to a fun-filled day,” said Ruscik. “There are plenty of activities for adults and kids of all ages, good music, good food, plenty of mangoes and we are delighted to be able to highlight our Greater Pine Island vendors.”

Some local vendors for this year’s event include Fruitscapes, which will head up the mango tasting; JMC Landscaping; CW Fudge; the Matlacha Hookers; FISH; Bokeelia Custom Apparel; Koucky Studios; Calusa Bug Spray; York Road Marina; and Sun Shrimp food truck.