More Details on Mango Mess | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Broward News

More Details on Mango Mess

Of the Mango Festival's two major financial backers, only one came through with funding, according to a well-placed source with knowledge of the event. The failure of the other financial backer to follow through on his sponsorship of the festival, says the source, triggered bounced checks and then a crisis of faith among contractors that led to the event's cancellation.

The Deerfield Beach Commission will be discussing the Mango's collapse at a special meeting this evening. According to the same source,

Commissioner Sylvia Poitier -- who was involved in organizing the festival -- blames the city for interfering with the festival, causing its ruin.

Poitier's voice mailbox was full. Mayor Peggy Noland did not immediately return calls for comment. Commissioner Bill Ganz could only speak to what he witnessed during his three-hour visit to the festival Saturday.

The Mango Festival was to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, and the musical acts were to begin at 3, which is when Ganz arrived. He was to supposed to spend the afternoon watching the performances with Don Wiggins, one of the event's promoters.

Outside the gate, Ganz encountered a group of people milling around, upset about having learned that performers had canceled their appearances.

Having entered the festival grounds, Ganz found "very few people inside." Last week, he had expressed concern that the festival attendance would suffer because of the high ticket prices. Says Ganz, "It looked like there were more vendors and Mango Festival committee members than people at the event."

Ganz phoned Wiggins, who was feverishly negotiating with the contractor managing the event's sound system. That negotiation ended with the manager unplugging his equipment and leaving the festival.

"The whole three hours I was there, all I saw were people scrambling around and trying to deal with angry people," says Ganz.

Among those angry people was a woman from Miami who had purchased her ticket nearby, at the dry-cleaning business run by the family of Commissioner Sylvia Poitier, a member of the Mango committee. The woman from Miami wanted her money refunded. Ganz says he overheard Wiggins tell the woman that organizers had not yet collected money from that location.

Which led him to wonder: "If they're so broke at the event, why are they not collecting money from a location that's only a block away?"

He'll try to get an answer to that question at tonight's meeting.

So far the event's promoters are doing their best to stay upbeat, despite grim reports from witnesses of the Mango Festival. One promoter, Norris Wiggins, even told Juice this morning that he'd leap at the opportunity to stage a Mango Festival next year.

Says Ganz, "And I would leap to throw him out of the room."