Now in its third year, the mid-Island’s Mushroom Festival continued to solidify its spot on the autumn activities calendar with solid turnout at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
Hundreds of people strolled through the gates to purchase mushrooms and spore-growing medium from vendors, enjoy demonstrations and examine an extensive collection of wild mushrooms harvested by pickers in the local region.
“It just keeps growing every year,” said Lynne Brooks of the Arrowsmith Naturalists, a co-sponsor of the event. “The first year we weren’t sure how it would be received. We were hoping for 100 or 125 people and we got 800. Last year, it was 1,016.”
The local festival was the brainchild of Terry Taylor a member of both Arrowsmith Naturalists and the Vancouver Micological Society.
“They have a large festival in Vancouver, and Terry said he’d really like to do a mushroom festival here,” said Brookes. “It’s created a perfect synergy; we got everyone from micologists to people who have never picked a mushroom.”
Among those working with the displays was Vivian Miao of the Vancouver Micological Society, who travelled from the Lower Mainland just to volunteer at the festival.
“I have to say, they’ve done an amazing job; I’m impressed,” Miao said of local organizers. “A lot of work went into this. They just grabbed onto it and are doing a fantastic job.”
Brooks, a volunteer educator with NIWRA, said some of the mushrooms will continue to be used long after the festival.
“I’ll take them home and dry them, then use them for educational programs,” said Brooks. “They’ll last for years.”