Preparations are underway for the return of the Shuswap’s premier fungi-focused festival.
The 17th annual Sicamous Fungi Festival is scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at the Sicamous Legion.
Once again, a long list of experts with a collective wealth of knowledge around all things mushroom has been lined up for the event. Most will be familiar faces to past attendees of the festival, including Paul Kroeger, Vancouver Mycological Society founder and past president. Kroeger will be leading short walking tours as well as doing presentations, including A World of Wonder Beneath Your Feet at 4 p.m. on Friday (kids admitted free), and his popular Magic Mushroom presentation and Q&A at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Larry Evans, aka the Indiana Jones of Mushrooms, is also returning. Evans has been teaching classes and leading mushroom expeditions since 1980. Biologist Tyson Elhers is also returning for Fungi Fest 2022. Elhers studies the ecology of wild edible mushrooms harvested from the forests of B.C. and has intimate knowledge of species found in the Kootenays.
Also returning is Robert Rogers, who has written 60 books including The Fungal Pharmacy, and is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, Fellow of the International College of Nutrition, and assistant clinical professor in family medicine at the University of Alberta.
This year Fungi Fest also welcomes Salmon Arm teacher, craftsman and avid fungi enthusiast Mitch Milgram, who has been collecting and identifying mushrooms for more than 40 years, has been a member of a number of mycology clubs, and has taught mushroom identification courses through Okanagan College in Vernon, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke for the last 20 years.
At noon on Saturday, Rogers will host a medicinal mushroom presentation and Q&A. At 3:30 p.m., Mike Ebenal will host a session on how to grow mushrooms in your garden. A market and plant exchange is also planned for the day.
Short and long guided walks are particularly popular attractions of Fungi Fest. Friday and Saturday’s long walks are full, though there were still some spaces left for Sunday as of Sept. 8.
At the Aug. 24 District of Sicamous council meeting, Fungi Fest organizer Deb Heap received council’s support for use of the district’s portable stage for musical entertainment. With limited space available for the walking tours, Heap explained the way she hopes to expand the festival is through music and food.
“It’s about expanding it so we get people coming in for the whole experience and a bit of everything,” said Heap.
For more Fungi Fest information and to register to take part, visit www.fungifestival.com.
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