Banana marketers are building on last year’s promotions to engage a younger crowd and celebrate healthy eating, day and night.

After a successful test in 2010, Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit expanded its Go Bananas campaign this summer to include desserts and drinks as well as main courses hot off the grill.

The fun continues this fall and winter, as the company extends its Go Bananas After Dark theme with back-to-school and holiday recipes that go way beyond banana smoothies, said communications manager Bil Goldfield.

Featured summer recipes ranged from grilled banana s’mores to fried banana wontons and banana margaritas.

Grilled bananas also appeared on summer menus at Six Flags parks for the first time.

“We linked our Go Bananas After Dark with Six Flags’ Coasters After Dark to create some nice dual-brand synergy,” Goldfield said.

In addition, Dole took its After Dark theme to cities across the country, partnering with food bloggers, chefs and dietitians to create local recipes.

“What’s great about our whole Go Bananas program is that below the somewhat-irreverent surface we’re giving consumers a healthy, tasty alternative to summer favorites while helping them get more of their daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Goldfield said.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce also is capitalizing on the success of a campaign from last year, the Teacher Monday Cash for Classrooms promotion.

Every Monday between Oct. 3 and Nov. 14, 10 teachers who garner the most online votes are scheduled to receive $1,000 worth of prizes — $750 cash for school supplies and $250 in coupons to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for their class.

Even before voting for the 60 winning teachers began Sept. 26, vice president marketing Dennis Christou said the promotion “has far exceeded our expectations.”

Christou said the contest helps teachers educate their students on healthier eating habits and allows them to buy much-needed school supplies.

Del Monte publicized last year’s Cash for Classroom promotion on 30 million on-pack stickers, tags and labels, he said, and tallied more than 1 million votes.

Retailers are encouraged to participate through an in-store display contest.

San Diego-based Organics Unlimited also promoted a September display contest, its annual GROW Month, for retailers who carry GROW bananas.

GROW stands for Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers.

Sales of the organic bananas raise money for Mexican farm communities.

This year’s GROW cloth banana bag featured a banana bread recipe on the back.

“It’s working, and people like it,” said president Mayra Velazquez de Leon.

Some retailers placed banana bunches in bags as part of their display, she said.

Bill Sheridan, executive vice president of Coral Gables-based Banacol Marketing Corp., said the retailers he works with prefer promotions tailored to their consumers rather than expensive national programs.

“Supermarket loyalty cards have proved particularly effective,” Sheridan said.

“If you have a database of who purchases bananas, you can target those customers and offer them great cross-promotions.

“It’s a good way to generate future sales.”