Mangos and Mantas at Fifth Annual Mango Festival

Free juicy fun is on tap at the fifth annual Mango Festival Saturday, July 20 on the Hawaii Lawn of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. This year’s festival theme of Mangos & Mantas features displays on agricultural sustainability and marine conservation from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Mangos—the richly hued summer orbs that seduce island residents each year with their juicy flavor and fragrance— will be showcased in a variety of horticultural and culinary activities. In addition, festival goers can enjoy mangolicious treats and smoothies offered by vendors.

Foodie fun includes an amateur recipe contest. See how local residents are using mangos in salads, entrees and desserts and cheer on your favorite entrants. Spearheading the contest is foodie blogger and cookbook author Sonia Martinez; find recipe entry details at www.mangofest.org.

The Sheraton’s Rays on the Bay will offer samplings of tasty mango-inspired pupus at the festival. These tasty morsels will be featured on the restaurant’s menu after the festival, along with refreshing, mango-inspired beverages.

For green-thumb wannabes, enjoy a presentation by Harold Moodie on grafting mangos and the trees will also be for sale. The West Hawaii Master Gardeners will provide free advice for home gardeners at their friendly question-and-answer booth. The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association is offering info and samples for the many varieties of mangos grown statewide.

The annual agricultural-themed panel discussion expands to encompass this year’s festival theme, “Keep the Culture in Agriculture While Protecting Our Marine Environment.” Panelists include Dr. Hector Valenzuela, vegetable crop extension specialist with University of Hawaii at Manoa; soil authority Graeme Sait of Nutri Tech Solutions Australia and James Wing, a local manta ray expert and representative for the Manta Network, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and conservation of mantas worldwide.

Browse among arts and crafts booths and enjoy non-stop entertainment featuring Kumu Keala Ching, Bolo, Maka, Poncho Man, Auntie Irma’s Kahikina Nahenehe Ohana and Incense & Nouveau Gypsy with Stephanie Bolton.

Also on display will be original festival art by Bruce Sherman and event t-shirts. For information, visit www.mangofest.org.

Mango Festival: The 2013 Mango Festival is sponsored by Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens, Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers-West Hawaii and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.