September 21st is a special day – it marks the day of the International Banana Festival! Bananas are great for so many reasons – they are healthy (of course), full of potassium, ready to eat, and they even come in their own handy “case”!
Probably the best way to celebrate the banana, other than eating one, any day of the year would be playing a game of Bananagrams! This Scrabble-style game is fun for on the go, as all the tiles pack into the Bananagrams banana, and there is no board required.
Banana-lovers should already have their plans made to head to Fulton County, KY for their annual Banana Festival! This year is extra-special as it marks the 50th year of the occasion. How do they celebrate? With Banana Ping Palm, Banana Diva Fashion Show, Banana Bake-Off, a Banana Split Eating Contest… you get the idea!
Why bananas? Here’s a little tidbit of history from the festival’s website:
In about 1880 the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad was the first to develop refrigerated cars. Suddenly those not living in tropical regions could have the same fruits year round that others enjoyed. Fulton, at the time, was home to a large railroad facility and became the redistribution point for the railroad because of its central location between New Orleans and Canada. The United Fruit Co, now Chiquita, began shipping bananas from South America by ship to New Orleans. The bananas were loaded onto railcars on top of 162 pound blocks of ice for the trip north. Fulton had the only ice house on the route north to Chicago. The bananas were re-iced with blocks from the Fulton Ice Plant, now closed. Empty railcars were pulled up to the side of the ice house and these large blocks of ice were loaded end up covering the entire box car. The bananas were then laid on top of the ice to continue their journey. At one point, over 70% of the bananas that were consumed in the US passed through Fulton. Fulton became known as “The Banana Capital of the World.”
Speaking of Going Bananas… If you have Netflix streaming service, check out “Bruno and the Banana Bunch!” It’s a fun show from Canada featuring a friendly narrator, Bruno the monkey, and his Bananaland friends. At least one banana makes its way into every episode, and they celebrate by “Going Bananas!” (Photo from cbc.ca)
Hope you find a way to celebrate bananas on Friday, September 21!