The Thai dish sticky mango will be available June 26-27 at the Northwood Mango and Music Fest in West Palm Beach. (Northwood Mango and Music Fest/Courtesy)
By Briana Erickson, Sun Sentinel
Mango culture of West Palm Beach will be celebrated this weekend in Northwood Village.
Hollywood band Mixed Culture to play Northwood Mango and Music Fest in West Palm Beach.
When Francisco Sanchez began playing reggae songs nearly 10 years ago with some co-workers from the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, the mellow vibe put him in mind of his life back in Peru.
Sanchez says the jam sessions were nothing serious.
"Until it became serious," says Sanchez, the 33-year-old lead singer of the roots-reggae band Mixed Culture.
Mixed Culture will perform Friday, June 26, at the Northwood Mango and Music Fest in West Palm Beach. (Mixed Culture/Courtesy)
The eight-piece group's lineup has changed much over the years, but today it includes members from Colombia, Haiti, South Africa and Peru. The name Mixed Culture celebrates both the band's international lineup and its members' adopted home.
"South Florida is very eclectic. There are so many cultures," Sanchez says.
"And we're a Latin and Caribbean band, so our music reflects that."
The band's name is also an apt description of the Northwood Mango and Music Fest, a two-day festival taking place this weekend and celebrating the culture of the West Palm Beach neighborhood Northwood Village, the site of the first fruit-bearing mango tree in the United States.
Sponsored by the city of West Palm Beach and Northwood GREENlife, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring sustainable living, the festival will be rampant with local art vendors, mango-recipe contests and hula dancers.
Chefs from the area will showcase their culinary imaginations and locals will tell personal anecdotes at an event titled Mango Tales.
Samples of Northwood's mangoes and a sticky mango, traditional Thai dish will be available.
GREENlife will also be collecting mangoes for donations to the Palm Beach County Food Bank.
"This was done 14 years ago as a little street festival in Northwood Hills," Northwood GREENlife president Mayra Morrison says of the nearby neighborhood.
"But this year, we're doing it in Northwood Village. It's never been done at this scale before."
Morrison says there will be a Kids Zone for arts and fun, including lessons in island melodies. Street performers will represent countries pertinent to mango culture, and a mango conga line will be led by African drummers.
Spectators will interact with artists through Impulse Art, a performance in which Brazilian artist Daniel Pontet paints with his feet and hands to music.
Bands will be active throughout the weekend, with Mixed Culture performing first from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday.
"The festival includes people from all different nationalities," Morrison says, explaining that the festival started as an idea when one of Northwood GREENlife's former board members, Jillian Williams, talked about going to mango festivals in her native Jamaica.
"I loved the idea, and started the process of exploring this opportunity, talking it up, and taking the idea from concept to reality," Morrison says.
A self-proclaimed mango lover, Morrison is gratified by the results and help from the city, community volunteers and fellow GREENlife members.
"It truly has been a really beautiful collaboration from the Northwood community," she says.
Northwood Mango and Music Fest will take place 6-10 p.m. Friday, June 26, and noon-6 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at Northwood Village on 516 Northwood Road in West Palm Beach. Call 561-906-2583 or go to MangoMusicFest.com.