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Guest Comment: 23 years of MangoMania ... how do they do that?

August 22, 2018
By SueAnn Germani , Pine Island Eagle

Looking out over the empty German American Social Club as I loaded up the last of the tents and tables into my SUV, I realized that while setting up and breaking down for an event is indeed labor intensive, the actual process of planning an event and bringing to fruition those plans is incredible in of itself.

The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce led by Executive Director Jennifer Jennings and President Melissa Koferl have this down pat. They, along with their board of directors and numerous volunteers somehow make it all happen. The biggest obstacle is securing the funds to just start the process. Applying for government grants, securing large sponsors and implementing a marketing team to acquire local sponsors that will showcase our island communities are among the first steps. Securing the venue, the issuance of permits, insurance and hiring security personnel is all done well in advance of the event day.

Suffice it to say, for the most part, Mango Mania begins in February. There are numerous emails, phone calls and meetings with advertising personnel from TV and radio stations as well as constant updates on social media and print news to get the word out and ensure we have a respectable turnout.

Article Photos

The mango sampling table at the recent MangoMania.


While all of this is going on in the background, a small army of volunteers are designing brochures, banners and signs as well as choosing a local artist that will create the design for the MangoMania T-shirt that will be sold at the event. The winning art design will also become the poster that will be displayed at various businesses here on the island and surrounding areas such as Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, Sanibel and Captiva advertising the event.

Music! What is an event without music?Contests! Prizes! Raffles! All of these things must have serious consideration and meticulous planning, so another small army of volunteers is deployed to make these portions of the event go smoothly.

A local mango grower must be found to sponsor the tasting table and the logistics of transporting thousands of mangos from the grove to the venue must be ironed out. By April the vendors have been notified to fill out an application to rent space and the phones start ringing at the Chamber. Out comes the venue map and spaces start filling up.

Let's not forget a bit of housekeeping. We humans do create large messes and they need to be kept somewhat in control the messes well the humans, too. Garbage must be hauled off frequently so Dumpsters need to be leased and another army of volunteers must be formed to take care of collecting trash and hauling it to the dumpsters. Restroom facilities must be provided as well as cooling and hydration stations.

Finally, at 2 p.m. the day before the event, vendors begin to arrive. Trailers and tents begin to fill the venue grounds and voices waft through the aisles. It is a whirling dervish of activity right up to opening day just getting everything set up.

For everything that I have mentioned here I know there were fifty other things that needed to be done and were done by Jennifer and Melissa unbeknownst to the rest of us. The gates opened at 10 a.m. and the people flowed in. With an eye to the sky, we all hoped for no rain until after 5 p.m. it rained at 3 p.m. on Saturday but Sunday was sunny.

My small piece in all this was one of the contests. Specifically, the cooking contest. Next year I'll do better! What follows is the list of winners from the contests that were held.

The Cooking Contest


1st - Rod Duncan

2nd - Jason Frank

3rd - Barb Jennings


1st - Jason Frank

2nd - Judy Bero

3rd - Rod Duncan


1st - Jason Frank, Mango Mousse

2nd - Alice White, Mango Pie

3rd - Susan Rhoads, Mango Pan Pizza


1st - Rod Duncan, Mango Tango Hot Sauce

2nd - Denise Esposito, Mango Mustard

3rd - Rod Duncan, Rod-Tom Mild Mango Pepper Sauce


Saltwater Smokehouse Andrew Hamilton

Mango Dessert: Mango Puddin' Cake

Mango Appetizer: Mango Shrimp Wonton Cup with Asian Slaw

Hat Decorating Contest

1st - Ricki Serorillo

2nd - Laura Terpice

3rd - London Carbells

Pie Eating Contest Sunday

Kids Division

1st Place Dylan, from Maryland

2nd Place- Nicholas, from Cape Coral

3rd place- Noah, from Cape Coral

Adult Division

Erin, from Sarasota

Jason, from Cape Coral

Juan, from Pine Island

Largest Mango

1st place- John Scatelette, 5.67 lbs.

2nd place John Scatelette, 3.23 lbs.

3rd place- Gatherings Grove, 2.272 lbs.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers that make this event run smoothly and I hope that perhaps I was able to convey the dedication that The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce has to our communities and businesses. To Jennifer Jennings, Melissa Koferl and the Board of Directors, thank you!

Already meetings are under way, lists have been made and topics listed to discuss on how to make MangoMania 2019 even better.



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