Mangoes fit for fun

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Photo courtesy of Agat Mayor's Office
Photo courtesy of Agat Mayor's Office

Mangoes fit for fun

by: Takahiro Takiguchi | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: May 26, 2015

Agat Village has got a lovely bunch of mangos – and they will be showcased in all their splendor at the Ninth Annual Agat Mango Festival on June 6-7.

We’re talking about varieties of Guam’s favorite fruit, ranging from piko mangos to banana mangos to Saipan mangos. There’s also a mango run, mango doughnuts, a biggest mango contest, as well as the crowning of the best mango dessert.

Mango season usually starts around March when mango trees start bearing this island-favorite fruit, which starts off green and ripens into rich yellow, red or even golden orange colors by late May to early June.

“At the festival you will see, touch and taste a variety of mangoes,” says Carol S. Tayama, Mayor of Agat Village. “Sample Agat’s favorite spices that are eaten with the unripe mango. Taste mango smoothies and mango donuts. Learn more about mangoes at workshops.”

Festivities actually kick off the week before the main event with the annual 2k/5k Mango Festival Run/Walk on May 30. The signup fee is $7 in advance or $10 the day of the race, and the first 350 finishers will win prizes and T shirts.

Then the following weekend brings two full days – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – of live entertainment by local talent, contests, giveaways, prizes, demonstrations and activities for young and old alike at Agat Village’s Sagan Bisita and adjacent community center.

You’ll see booths with the variety of mangoes grown in the village and throughout the island.  Individuals and groups will vie for the best mango display and mango vendor booth. The official judging and declaration of the island’s biggest ¬– and the most bizarre – mango of 2015 also will take place. There will be many other unique contests at the festival as well.

You can vie for being the person who eats the most ripe or spicy mangoes in the mango eating contest. In addition to entering your own culinary creations in the best mango desert contest, you can pit the taste and presentation of your cooked dishes that use mango and other mystery ingredients against others in the chopped mango cook-off.

Spectators will be able to get in on the act by participating in workshops on such topics as pickling mangos, blending mango smoothies and making mango doughnuts. You’ll also see mango plants and a variety of tropical plants from various nurseries.

“Mangoes are part of Agat’s landscape,” Tayama says. “The village is abundant with mango trees, they are alongside the roadways throughout Agat and on the properties of our residents.”

Agat farmers also produce a plethora of varieties: Hawaiian mangos, piko mangos, banana mangos, carabao mangos, apple mangos, Malaysian mangos, Saipan mangos and peach mangos, to name a few.

That doesn’t even include a near-infinite number of crossbreeds – many of which will be showcased, sold and/or available for sampling at the festival.

According to Tayama, the mango festival actually was established to bring together the village community and share its hospitality.

“Since we can remember, we’ve shared and ate the mango with friends and families while we spent time together with laughter and joy of one another’s company,” she said.  “The mango festival in essence is an opportunity for us to share this healthy experience with everyone.”

There’s no need to worry about parking too far from the event. Just look for the special golf carts that will be roaming the vicinity ferrying visitors to and from parking areas and the festival grounds. So don’t miss this opportunity to have a mango of a good time.

“You can relax and enjoy family oriented hospitality in a festival setting,” Tayama said. “There are plenty of seats, drinks, food concessions all around and a lot of things to see.”

takiguchi.takahiro@stripes.com

Agat Mango Festival schedule

June 6
11 a.m. – Mango Dessert Contest
2 p.m. – Mango Games
A) Mango Bobbing
B) All you can eat (ripe mango)

June 7
11 a.m. – Chopped Mango Cooking Contest
2 p.m. – Mango Games
A) Carry the most
B) All you can eat (spice mango)
6 p.m. – Raffle Drawing

For more on the Agat Mango Festival, call 565-2524 or visit: www.mangofestivalgu.com

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