The fragrant, richly-hued summer orbs that seduce island fruit lovers with their juicy goodness are celebrated July 28-29 at the fourth annual Mango Festival. The full weekend of fun at the Keauhou Beach Resort is officially proclaimed as Hawai‘i Island Mango Festival Days by Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi.
The free family event offers entertainment, mango-themed displays, arts and crafts, mangolicious food and drinks, plus belly dancing workshops both days. Saturday’s fun also includes delicious culinary fun, horticulture activities and a panel discussion on “Putting the Culture Back into Agriculture” on the ocean lawn.
Foodie fun includes an amateur recipe contest. See what local residents are doing with mangos and cheer on your favorite entrants. After contest judging at 1 p.m. Saturday, attendees can sample entries—while they last. For recipe entry details, visit www.mangofest.org.
Hubert des Marais, executive chef at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i will provide tips on how to use mangos during a staged culinary demonstration at 2 p.m. Saturday. Chef Hubert recently moved to the Big Island from Africa and boasts more than 35 years in the hospitality industry spanning four continents. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, des Marais is noted for his deliciously healthy food that is fresh, flavorful and truly inventive. He has been named one of “America’s Ten Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine Magazine, has been featured on the Food Network and was among an elite group of chefs invited to cook for the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala. Don’t miss this stellar culinary event—cameras are welcome.
For green-thumb wannabes, a variety of horticulture activities are set for Saturday. The West Hawaii Master Gardeners offers free advice for home gardeners and will distribute free remedies to battle soft-bodied insect pests, ants and powdery mildew. The organization will also sell plants, plus insect traps targeting coffee berry borers and fruit flies.
The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association will provide info and samples of the varieties of mangos grown statewide. There will also be a grafting presentation.
Entertainment headliners on the Royal Gardens stage include world dance performer and instructor Willow Chang. With a degree in dance from the University of Hawaii, the award-winning Chang is proficient in a wide range of dance styles, including Middle Eastern belly dance, Argentine tango and Spanish flamenco. Chang performs 11 a.m. both days. Flo Chang offers afternoon belly dance workshops both days.
Taking the stage on either Saturday or Sunday (or both) is Latin funk band Leche de Tigre trio, reggae artist Sahra Indio, the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko-Kohala performing Okinawan Eisa Taiko and Anela Strings. Local hula halau and keiki performers will light up the stage both days.
Mango Tango July 21
Preceding the Mango Festival is the Mango Tango Dance and Desserts FUNdraiser July 21 in Kealakekua at the New Thought Center in Pualani Terrace on Hwy. 11. The juicy jive includes a dramatic show of tango dancing, dessert bar, hand-crafted ales from Kona Brewing Company, silent auction and door prizes from 6-9 p.m. Get in on the salsa dance lessons from 6-6:30 p.m. with Carolyn Ching, followed by music by the Mango Tango band and a live Argentine tango performance. Tickets are $10 and extra donations are tax deductible. For tickets, phone 808-887-1292 or 808-756-4700 or get them online at www.newthoughtcenterofhawaii.com.
Mango Tango proceeds benefit the Mango Festival and New Thought Center, a sanctuary for the nourishment, development and evolution of each individual’s unique spiritual path.
Both the Mango Tango FUNdraiser and the free community festival are presented by the non-profit Sanctuary of Mana Ke‘a Gardens. The community is invited to collaborate, support and participate. Exhibitor booths for July 28-29 are available for businesses and non-profit organizations. Volunteers are encouraged to help with festival day activities, speaker support and workshops. Find vendor and volunteer signup forms at mangofestival.org.