Twenty years ago, a seed from one of Dr. David Fairchild’s century-old mango trees was planted in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s fertile soil. Fast forward to the present and Fairchild is now a haven for tropical fruit research and home to hundreds of mango cultivars.
Today, Fairchild’s International Mango Festival is in its 20th year and continues to be the summer’s must-attend event. It features the world’s largest display of mango cultivars, more than 1,200 mango trees for purhase, amazing cooking demonstrations, fun things for the kids, mango cultivar tastings, a marketplace of mango products, educational lectures, mango- inspired cuisine and entertainment.
This year, Fairchild celebrates the growth and development mangos have gone through to thrive in South Florida and around the world with the 20th annu- al International Mango Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 14-15, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Through lectures, cooking demonstrations, samplings, sales and children’s activities, visitors learn the differences among mangos cultivars around the globe. They have the opportunity to purchase mangos at the Mango Fruit Market, buy a Curator’s Choice mango tree the Mango Tree Sale area, or bid on mangos at the world’s only mango auction.
On both Saturday and Sunday, a Mango Tasting and Flavor Evaluation Room is set up in Corbin A with an entry fee of $1. The Mangos of the World Display in the Garden House features the largest mango collection in the world. Stop by the International Fruit Market on the Garden House Lawn where more than 100 vari- eties of Fairchild mangos are showcased, as well as fruit from India and Puerto Rico available for purchase.
Guests can enjoy a delicious mango smoothie while browsing. Through hands- on activities, children can explore the evolution of plants as part of “What’s Growing for the Kids!” in the Edible Garden. Treat your taste buds to cooking demonstrations throughout the day in the Philips Gate Courtyard. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cycad Vista, the Schnebly Miami Brewing Company serves up samples of their newest mango brew.
On Saturday, Miami’s favorite restaurants and businesses are dishing out samples, including mango pies from Kenny’s Great Pies and mango coconut water from Zico Coconut Water in the Garden House, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Those registered for the 13th annual Mango Brunch in the Garden House on Sunday at 11 a.m. can start the day off with delicious mango dishes prepared by chefs from prestigious restaurants and hotels across South Florida.
Demonstrations on how to graft, grow and prune mangos are in the Mango Demonstration Tent from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Of course, don’t miss the world’s only mango auction that starts at 3 p.m. in the Garden House.
For a full schedule of events, more information and to purchase tickets for the Mango Brunch, go to the 20th annual International Mango Festival webpage. Preceding the festival, the International Mango Grower’s Conference on Friday, July 13 from 9:30 a.m.7 p.m. addresses issues facing modern mango growers and offers networking opportunities.
Registration is $60 and provides entry to both festival days.
The 2012 International Mango Festival is sponsored by HSBC Bank USA and Whole Foods Market.
Admission to the International Mango Festival is free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under. For non-members, admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, and $12 for children 6-17.
Those who walk or bike receive $5 off adult admission and $2 off child admission. Those with a Military ID are admit- ted free, with $20 for their spouses and $10 for their children.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road. For more information, call 305-667-1651 or go to www.fairchildgarden.org.