This year's fourth annual Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival is being held Oct. 20 at the Pender Harbour Community Hall. Hosted by the Society for the Hunting, Recognition and Observation of Mushrooms (SHROOM), it promises to be another biologically diverse and fascinating event for both locals and visitors.
From mushroom identification tables to information and demonstrations about using mushrooms in cooking, fabric and yarn dyeing, and the medicinal powers of the fungal world, the shroomfest is a great way to get acquainted with the mushrooms and fungi of the Pacific Northwest. Knowledgeable expert foragers will be on hand to identify mushrooms brought in by festival visitors and to talk about the basics of mushrooming, making this event one of the safest ways to introduce yourself to this fascinating leisure activity and the world-class science behind it. There will also a children's table and a contest for best mushroom basket, judged by a special guest.
This year's guest expert is world-renowned mushroomer Daniel Winkler, author of one of the bibles of Pacific Northwest foraging, Edible Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, and several field guides. Winkler's fascination with mushrooms began in the Alps as a child, and his 15 years of experience in the Pacific Northwest as an educator, guide and presenter along with a background in geography and ecology bring a unique perspective and depth to his presentations to mushroom-loving people across the world. In particular, he is a consultant for a non-governmental organization for the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas around environmental issues and has a significant specialization in eco-tourism mushroom forays in Tibet, China and the Amazon.
For members of the Sunshine Coast Mushroom Society, there will be a members-only foray with Winkler on Friday, Oct. 19, for $30 per person (plus your SHROOM membership). Pre-registration is required by contacting email@example.com. If you can't make it or aren't ready to join — for $20/person or $25/family — there is also a presentation at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden on Mason Road that is open to everyone for $10 per person.
The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community Hall in Madeira Park, with a cost of $3 per person (SHROOM members free). Hotly anticipated and expected to sell out quickly is the gourmet dinner with wine pairings and edible mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest at Painted Boat Resort Saturday evening. This event is by reservation only, and is $90 per person. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with seating at 6:30, and Winkler will be presenting. Last year, guests raved at chef Spencer Watt's creations using local mushrooms, which even included shroomy ice cream among other surprising menu items. The dinner is open to non-members. Call 604-883-2456 to reserve your tickets.
To learn more about the mushroom society or to join as a member, see www.scshroom.org.