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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    Time To Go Banana at the 8th Annual Port of Hueneme Banana Festival

    More than 100 billion bananas are eaten in the world every year. A few thousand will be part of the 8th Annual Port of Hueneme Banana Festival, Saturday, September 28. The festival, with fun for all ages, is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entry and parking are free.

    The festival is a banana lover’s dream. Over 15 local restaurants and vendors will be serving tasty banana treats. Items include banana and dulce de leche empanadas, banana funnel cakes, banana lumpia, banana cream pie melta, banana Italian ice, banana milkshakes, banana ice cream boats, banana slushies, banana popcorn, banana splits and banana cookies. Strawberry-banana margaritas will be served at Frozen Sensations booth. 

    The Banana Festival attracts over 10,000 visitors each year. It features live bands, beer and margaritas, arts and crafts vendors and free kids’ crafts with banana-themed art projects and other free kids’ activities.

    Pie Eating Contests. Two banana pie-eating contests will be held at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and are open to the public. A limited number of spots are available. Sign up to enter at the festival’s information booth.

    Port Tours. Festivalgoers can get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the Port with free water and land tours. The water tour, departing every 20 minutes beginning at 10:20 a.m., takes visitors around the Port and Naval Base Ventura County. Land tours are on the half hour starting at 10:30 a.m. Land tour participants ride in a comfortable motor coach. All tours are first come, first served, and minors must be accompanied by an adult. Visit the Port Tours Tent onsite at the festival to sign up.

    The Port of Hueneme is celebrating its 82nd year of operation. It moves $9 billion in cargo in and out of the port each year and it is consistently ranks among the top 10 U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce.  More than 600,000 metric tons of bananas come into the port each annually, making the Port of Hueneme one of the largest banana gateways in the country. The Banana Festival was created to show the public how the port operates and learn about the many types of items that are shipped in and out – including cars!

    Chiquita & Del Monte (festival sponsors) import more than 30 million boxes of bananas annually, with a market value of $885 million. The port is the largest deep-water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Festivalgoers can learn about the port’s history, its customers, imports/exports and environmental contributions.

    The Banana Festival is located at the Port of Hueneme, with the entrance at the corner of Surfside Drive and Market Street. Free parking is available at beach lots. For festival information, call 805-535-4060 or visit

    Banana Fun Facts:

    • The banana is actually classified as a berry.
    • There are over 1,000 varieties of bananas. The Cavendish by far the most popular (95 percent of all export bananas are Cavendish).
    • Most of the bananas Americans eat come from countries in Latin America and South America including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Panama and Guatemala. Hawaii is the only state that grows bananas commercially.
    • More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, mostly at breakfast.
    • Americans eat an average of 27 pounds of bananas per person every year.
    • A cluster of bananas is called a hand and a single banana is called a finger.
    • About 75 percent of the weight of a banana is water.
    • Bananas grow curved because they grow upside down bending toward the sun.
    • If you put a banana in the refrigerator, the peel will turn dark brown or black, but it won’t affect the banana inside.
    • Bananas are good for you. They are low in calories and have no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol. They contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber and vitamin B6.
    • Wild bananas are full of seeds, and are only barely edible. Commercially grown bananas that are cultivated specifically for consumption have tiny, almost unnoticeable, seeds.
    • Bananas are believed to have originated up to 10,000 years ago and some scientists believe they may have been the world’s first fruit.
    • Many food historians believe that the origin of the word “banana” comes from a language spoken in the Congo.

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