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ST CROIX — Summertime on St. Croix means mango season is in full effect. With that comes a one-of-a-kind event that has been held yearly on St. Croix since 1996! Mango Melee is one of St. Croix’s most cherished celebrations because it shines a light on the island’s beloved fruit — the mango. Here, attendees can develop a greater appreciation for this tropical fruit and the litany of ways it can be used. This popular family-friendly event draws thousands of eventgoers each year to the lush grounds of St. George Village Botanical Gardens (SGVBG). In its 28th year, SGVBG hosted the event at the former 19th-century sugar cane plantation that covers 16 acres.

There’s no shortage of things to do, people to see, or mangoes to eat at Mango Melee. Educational workshops, fun children’s activities, entertainment, and even a food competition are a few of the happenings at the event. Attendees can indulge in the delicious fare of local food and drinks or get a jump start on holiday shopping at one of the many arts and craft vendors in attendance. Get a heaping dose of Virgin Islands culture with cultural dance performances, moko jumbies, music, and much more throughout the event grounds.

The ‘Mango Dis, Mango Dat’ food competition has been building in popularity in recent years. Culinary craftsmen and women from around the Virgin Islands are invited to compete in one of four categories featuring the beloved mango: Sips (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks), Sweets (desserts), Salsas (includes sauces), and Stuff (any miscellaneous foods that don’t apply in the other categories). Prizes are awarded in all categories with tastes of the winning entries available for sale after the competition wraps. The most anticipated activity of the day is the ever-popular mango-eating contests! With two categories, children and adults compete to be crowned the winner. A little messy and loads of fun, the children’s competition allows contestants to use both hands as they attempt to devour all the mangoes in their bowls. The adult competition adds a level of difficulty where only one hand can be used. One can only imagine the hilarity that ensues during the contest.

It’s one of the activities you don’t want to miss. To close out the event, Fyah Train & Friends will headline “Sunset Reggae at Mango Melee” from 5pm to 7pm as the smooth, melodic rhythms of reggae music usher in the end of the fun-filled day. The 28th Annual Mango Melee takes place on Sunday, July 7th from 11am to 7pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12; children under 5 are free. As the Garden’s largest annual fundraising effort, the revenue from admissions goes towards their general operating expenses throughout the year. Attendees can purchase tickets in advance via Eventbrite; entry wristbands will be available at Will Call on the day of the event with an ID. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of. For more info, visit

Written by Anquanette Gaspard