Sidebar by Bob Berwyn
Mushrooms – August 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine
Several Colorado towns use mushroom season as an excuse to hold special events with a focus on fungi. This year Telluride will host the 20th edition of its renowned mushroom fest. The lush spruce, fir, and pine forests that surround the town harbor rich growths of fungi, and the festival attracts some of the world’s leading mycologists.
The schedule includes presentations on medicinal mushrooms, workshops for home growers and plenty of forays to identify mushrooms in the field with the help of experts. Another highlight is the parade down Main Street, complete with creative mushroom costumes and improvised music sessions. And don’t miss the mushroom feast, where enthusiasts share their favorite recipes for fungi, including chanterelle strudel — Mmmmm-mm!
The festival has prospered due in part to the profusion of edible species that grow around the town.
Even though some of the presentations by renowned mycologists are technical, the festival is empowering for amateurs and beginning mycologists, who can increase their knowledge exponentially during the three-day event. A free fungus fair is open to anyone and always helps to disperse some of that mycophobia that’s out there.
“Mushrooms are so beautiful,” Art Goodtimes says. “They’re such a fascinating part of the biotic world. They’re like nothing else. Every year, I learn something new about them at the festival.”
This year’s Telluride Mushroom Festival is scheduled from August 22-27. Call 970-728-6160 for more information.
This will be the fifth year for the King Boletus Mushroom Festival, which started with about 25 attendees, and now draws more than twice that number.
Sponsored by the Buena Vista Heritage Museum, the festival runs August 19-20, and includes classes on identification and preservation, followed by forays for collecting, and then some cooking.
It costs $35 for the two days, and you can call 719-395-8458 for more information, or to register. There’s no formal registration deadline, but the sooner the better, since enrollment is limited to 65 fungus fans.
Creede holds a low-key event August 18-20. The program begins with a slide show on the evening of Friday, August 18. Saturday and Sunday mornings are given to forays in the mountains around town to search for ‘shrooms.
Previous foray locations have included Bachelor Road, Pool Table Mountain and Ivy Creek, says chamber of commerce director Liz Ebel-Louth, adding that the exact spots vary each year, depending on where there are mushrooms to be found.
Past hunts have yielded a good harvest of delicious morels, Ebel-Louth says.
After the morning field excursions, foray leader Larry Renshaw and his wife hold cooking demonstrations, with a feast following at the end of the day.
The Creede event is in its eighth year, and Ebel-Louth says its become so popular that they have had to limit the number of participants to 60 for each foray.
To get more information or to make reservations, call the Creede Chamber of Commerce at 800-327-2102, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overlapping with Telluride’s festival, Crested Butte has also scheduled a festival for August 24-27. The event launches with a slide show on identification and ethical collecting, presented by Montana mycologist Larry Evans, whose fungal exploits were profiled by Outside magazine last year.
The exact schedule for Crested Butte’s festival hadn’t been determined at press time, but the weekend will also feature forays into the fields and forests around town. With a little luck and a lot of rain, the mushroom hunters should be able to pick plenty of tasty treats to prepare at the post-foray cooking sessions.
Call the Crested Butte Arts Council at 970-349-7487 for more details.
The Colorado Mycological Society hosts an annual mushroom fair at the Denver Botanic Gardens. This year it’s scheduled for Sunday, August 27, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The fair, scheduled to coincide with the peak of the mushroom season, features displays of thousands of fungi, with plenty of expert mycologists on hand to help identify your finds. Amateur mycophiles are encouraged to bring their samples to the fair for identification. An actual specimen helps, but even a clear photo of the entire fungus, stem and cap included, can be sufficient.
The CMS also holds monthly meetings from April through October, usually on the second Monday of the month. Each meeting features a lecture or slide presentation on a mushroom-related topic and chance to informally meet with other people interested in mycology. Guest speakers include nationally known mycologists, outside specialists and knowledgeable members.
Call the Colorado Mycological Society at 303-320-6569 or 303-377-1278 for more information.