Fairchild Botanical’s Mango Fest


John HIaasen

Delectable mangoes were laid out for all visitors to purchase.

John Hiaasen, Staff Writer

Our Rating: A

On July 11 and 12, around 9,000 people gathered at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens to for its annual mango festival. At this event, the mango’s taste and culture were celebrated. One particular mango, the Jamaican mango, stood out this year. Mango vendors and fanatics alike came to explore the background of the splendored fruit.

One vendor stand was from the Miami Shores Mango Collective. They sold cookbooks and talked about an organization called the Mango Collective.  Another vendor was the Agri Valley Fruit Picker Company, which featured the Clip-N-Pick Fruit Picker device.

The children at Mango Fest got to learn at the Fairchild Education tent.
John Hiaasen
The children at the Mango Festival got to learn at the Fairchild Education tent.

Fairchild had a tent made for children to learn about mangoes. In addition, there were cooking demonstrations with interesting mango recipes, and samples of other tasty mango treats were available in the gift shop.

Many mangoes were sold, each with its own unique taste and background. One popular mango on sale this year was the Julie mango, which is small and green and red. Other variations were the Blackie and Bombay Mangos.  These were sought out by Dr. Richard Campbell and Dr. Noris Ledesma.

“We have featured mangoes from the far reaches of the world; each location with its own unique genetic mix, particular look, flavor and texture. Each theme and location left its own mark on us and the world of the mango,” Ledesma said.

One of the non-mango vendors sold crushable seagrass hats to keep visitors cool.
John Hiaasen
One of the non-mango vendors sold crushable seagrass hats to keep visitors cool.

Despite the “mango fever,” none could be distracted from the unbearable heat that overcame the event. This gave vendor tents and water tables lots of business, as those in attendance bought accessories, like hats, in order to cool off.

Overall, the Mango Fest may be similar to other festivals, but the fruit it honors makes it unique. One thing is clear: the mango is one of Florida’s most delicious fruits, and it holds a special place in the heart of Fairchild Tropical Gardens.