What a mango festival would mean for the mango industry
"THE chance to hold a festival of mangoes is more than just celebrating the fruit- it's about recognising the hard work and dedication of our region's growers."
This is what the Australian Mango Industry Association chairman and local mango grower Ben Martin said about Bowen's opportunity to host a festival based around the iconic fruit.
Last week it was announced that Bowen has been short-listed as part of the 'Festival of Wot' competition, with the battle now on between three other locations across Australia.
Mr Martin said the festival would be a great incentive for the Bowen community and is now calling for mango lovers to share the voting process as far as possible.
"I'm behind anything that gives a boost to the local community," he said.
"But this could be a massive thing for Bowen because it could be used to not just celebrate the mango, but the dedicated growers who have invested their lives into this fruit."
With about 14 commercial growers in Bowen, as well as tens of hobby farmers, there is no shortage of love for the fruit.
But Mr Martin said that given the potential media exposure for the event, it was more than just the mango farmers in the region who could benefit.
"I'm not sure what the plan is for the Wotif Group and their media coverage, but undoubtedly it could help the whole mango industry," he said.
"There are so many different varieties of mangoes that all have their own attributes and can be used for many different things."
He said that Bowen mangoes were renowned for their sweetness and were the perfect pairing with desserts and ice cream.
Other varieties such as the Bowen developed R2E2, have a more mild taste and were nicely paired to main dishes.
Bowen Gumlu Growers Association president Carl Walker said he was excited for the chance to have the festival come to Bowen and wanted everyone to vote.
"Let's get this festival here, and let's make sure we beat those other towns," he said.
"We've got the best beaches, produce and people so let's show Bowen our support and spread this voting as far and wide as possible."
Go here to vote. Voting is open until September 29.