This Colorado Mushroom Festival Draws Visitors From Around the World — See the Magic of It All
Katrina Blair walked for a week to get to the Telluride Mushroom Festival in Colorado.
A wild foods expert, nonprofit founder, and restaurateur, Blair traveled more than 70 miles on foot from Durango to cook and present.
Other visitors came from around the world — Canada, Chile, and Hawaii. Mushrooms and mushroom lovers popped up everywhere for the extended weekend in August. The festival, now in its 41st year, offers lectures, mushroom identification, networking opportunities, gourmet meals, and forays for foraging.
After a rainy evening to start my trip (ideal for mushrooms), I joined a morning foray to forage with other mushroom enthusiasts. We were set loose in a mountain meadow, finding fungi in the forest and collecting them to identify each one. The mountains are rich with mushrooms; our group found several dozen varieties in the span of a few hours.
Later in the weekend, there's a parade through downtown Telluride, complete with mycologically-inspired costumes. Attendees prepare weeks or even months in advance. "Mine will be a pholiota squarrosa," Debbie Klein told me at the hostel where we were staying. (Her costume included Hershey's Kisses to mimic the shaggy spines atop the mushroom's cap.)
On that Saturday afternoon, Phoenix Fuller Thelonius True Heart Skookum River Blythe Ford showed off an "inky cap" outfit nearly eight feet tall during the parade. Five friends, wrapped in plastic, combined forces to become a package of wispy enoki. Marchers sang and danced, carrying mushroom signs.
As the parade wrapped up, I asked a man with mismatched psychedelic socks what his plans were for the evening. "Eat some mushrooms," he told me, smiling.