With Early-Bird Walk Aug. 15
TELLURIDE – The 33rd annual Telluride Mushroom Festival takes place Saturday, Aug. 16-Tuesday, Aug. 19, with pre-festival workshops and an early-bird walk on Friday, Aug. 15.The festival offers everything from guided forays to presentations on mushroom cultivation, anthropology, remediation and significant research.
This year’s festival examines the role of mushrooms across a broad spectrum of human life. Festival activities include everything from the ever-popular (and sometimes outrageous) mushroom costume parade to sessions for the mushroom gourmet to discussions about how recent scientific research has led to exciting new developments in the fields of behavioral pharmacology, oncology and other areas of human health and medicine.
The 2014 festival will offer a Telluride Institute Voucher Program science tent, overseen by renowned guests mycologist John Holliday and Gary Lincoff, author of The Audubon Guide to Mushrooms. Funded by Aloha Medicinals, this program aims to educate festival participants in the identification and discovery of mushrooms, some of which might be new to science.
Festival participants will be invited to bring fungi samples to the Voucher Program science tent. The specimens will be packaged and sent off for DNA analysis as part of an on-going project to identify fungi of the Telluride area. Who knows which lucky foray member will be responsible for finding a previously undescribed species?
The latest book from keynote speaker, author Langdon Cook (a writer, instructor, and lecturer on wild foods and how to find them, The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America) won the 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award. In it, Cook discusses how mushroom foraging can revitalize our relationship with the natural world.
Mycologists Tradd Cotter and Ron Spinosa will lead workshops on the cutting edge subject of mycoremediation, the use of fungi to clean up a polluted environment. They will also show how to use toilet paper and kitty litter to grow mushrooms at home, and discuss how growing one’s own mushrooms can improve nutrition and reduce poverty in the U.S.
Robert Rogers, a leading expert on medicinal fungi, will discuss how mushrooms can improve your health; biotechology researcher Dr. Ayman Daba will discuss the use of mushrooms to reverse cancerous tumors by boosting the host’s immune system; and Maggie Klinedinst, a senior program coordinator in Behavioral Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University, will discuss research on the use of mushrooms in developing medications for the treatment of mental disorders.
On the lighter, and more colorful, side of things mycologist and fiber artist Alissa Allen will offer a workshop on the process of extracting brilliantly colored dyes from mushroom specimens and using those dyes to color wool and silk. (Each workshop will be limited to 20 participants, so book early!) Mushroom photographer Taylor Lockwood, will screen his newest film, and offer tips for improvement for mushroom photographers. And Lawrence Millman will give a presentation on ethnomycology in which he talks about (among other things) how certain Native peoples use fungi to get rid of evil spirits. Wilkinson Public Library hosts a Mushroom Cook-Off street party on Saturday, Aug. 16. Chefs from around the country will compete for the People’s Choice Award, the Judges’ Choice Award and the much-coveted Mushroom Cap Award, creating delectable and inventive wild mushroom dishes. Everyone gets to watch the chefs in action, sample their dishes, and vote for their favorites! The Cook-Off will also feature mushroom-infused beer, live music, vendors and a grand tasting.
Saturday’s Telluride Mushroom Festival Parade, a lively celebration of all things fungal led by poet/mycologist Art Goodtimes, fills main street at TIME with features mushroom enthusiasts dressed in extravagant mushroom-themed costumes, with a prize for the best mushroom costume.
As Matt Kostalek, vice president of Aloha Medicinals has noted, where else can you see “hundreds of festival participants dressed as mushrooms in the epic annual costume parade,” while also having the opportunity “to learn about and participate in serious science taking place beneath a tent nearby.”
The festival is sponsored by the Telluride Institute.
Full event passes are available at telluridemushroomfest.org.