Hopkins Mangu Fest a Huge Success

Hopkins, they say, is the mango capital of Belize, and the Hopkins Mangu (the word for ‘Mango’ in Garifuna) Fest that was held last weekend was surely proof of that!

If you love mangos, you will definitely find a favorite in one of the over ten varieties found in Hopkins, such as the blue, Julie, Harry, #11, thunder shock, white, ballet, black, common, belly full, apple…the list goes on. Every year, the friendliest village in Belize celebrates the beginning of mango season with a free two-day family-friendly festival that showcases a lot of mangoes, as well as unique culinary delights. Hopkins’ culture, music, and community spirit was on full display over the weekend. This year, the event was held on June 2 and 3, and was a huge success.

Activities included a dory fishing contest (with prizes for most fish, most weight, biggest barracuda), a “best decorated booth” competition, a yoga session, and lots of live music! Visitors were able to find hand-made jewelry, arts, and crafts, to include pink conch shell necklaces and matching rings, lionfish earrings, and cohune palm pendants, as well as wooden bowls and serving pieces made from local hardwoods, such as the prized rosewood. Hopkins has no shortage of talented woodcarvers. Brightly colored hammocks and paintings filled other stalls. Healing concoctions and natural remedies such as hand-made salves, lotions, and even bug bite creams were on display.

Of course, mangos ruled the day and there were boundless ways to showcase them in all the many food offerings. There was everything from sliced mangos sprinkled with a spicy rub, to mango chutney, mango chimole, mango smoothies, mango ice cream, mango cake, and just about anything mango!

It’s no secret that Hopkins is home to some of the most talented artists in Belize and the world. They
always make it a point to return home for the Mangu Fest as they want to showcase their hometown pride at an event that pays tribute to cultural live music and those that keep it alive. Parranda, the blues music of Hopkins, is always front and center and features drumming, an important part of the Garifuna heritage.

The goal of the Hopkins Mangu Fest is to promote Hopkins as a tourist destination in a fashion that
builds on Hopkins uniqueness and promotes cultural preservation by featuring authentic Garifuna food
and music through a clean, wholesome, culinary and culturally fun festival. It also provides economic
opportunities during a time that has traditionally been referred to as “maga season” or thin season.
Sponsors included the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), Belikin Beer, Traveller’s, and Quality Poultry Chicken.

*With permission, this blog includes excerpts from an article by Leslie Sorrell, which was first published by RideBZE. Photos and video were also used with permission from Hopkins UnCut.

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