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Telluride, Colorado is the epicenter for the largest wild mushroom festival happening in North America and plans are coming together for the 41st Annual Telluride Mushroom Festival.

This internationally-famous festival features a plethora of events ranging from forays and mushroom ID sessions, to hands-on demonstrations, to lectures—all led by regionally, nationally, and internationally-known experts. The Festival is home to the only mushroom-themed parade you will ever see and includes pretty much “all things fungal.” There is plenty for everyone, each and every day, no matter your age, interest, or education level.

Are you interested in forays and wild mushroom identification? The Festival’s forays are a great way to learn from local experts, and nationally famous field mycologists. This is your opportunity to learn how to “know your mushrooms,” and while you’re at it why not try tasting a few! At the Telluride Mushroom Festival, there are many culinary events, some of them for an additional special event fee, others totally free. Each year many attendees want to learn about growing mushrooms at home, some on a small scale for fun, others have dreams of ramping up and going commercial. It’s not far-fetched, mushroom cultivation operations are popping up all the time and cultivated mushrooms are a rapidly growing crop with consumers. The Festival features everything from how to do basic cultivation for beginners, to doing lab tissue cultures; from building basic lab equipment to large-scale operations; and even marketing information.

This year’s theme will be “RECONNECTING.” Festival Director, Dr. Britt Bunyard, Editor-in-Chief of Fungi magazine, says that “After a year like 2020, all of us from the myco-community and beyond … we all need to reconnect!” The presentations this year, like the presenters themselves, are quite literally all over the map. Topics range from wild and cultivated culinary and medicinal mushrooms; chemistry and clinical use of psychedelic mushrooms; ethnomycology, mycoremediation, and living sustainably with mushrooms; plus, lots of basics for beginners.

With the unprecedented fires throughout North America in 2020—and Colorado in particular—there will be presentations by experts in “fire fungi” and using fungi to restore habitats after fires. Many experts from the USA, like the West Coast’s Chad Hyatt, Tradd Cotter, Lawrence Millman, and William Padilla Brown to the East Coast, plus Colorado’s own Andy Wilson – curator of the fungal collections at the Denver Botanic Garden will be featured. The lineup also includes several Canadian experts: Erika Dyck from Saskatchewan, Andy MacKinnon from British Columbia, and Robert Dale Rogers—a favorite at the Festival—from Alberta. Their stories will fascinate and inspire you. Their knowledge will motivate you.

Early-Bird ticket sales typically go on sale January 1, however, due to the continued disruption in event planning and the nature of the times, the Festival staff have decided it best to postpone all ticket sales until the spring. According to Festival Operations Manager, Ashley Smith, the Festival is currently planning a few different festival format options depending on our ability to safely host events in groups, indoors/outdoors, virtual options for those who prefer or will depend on it, etc. “Full Festival Passes for the four-day in-person event will start at $375 and there will likely be different ticket options this year to offer our attendees a more custom experience”. “And, with the success of last year’s virtual presentations (resulting from the pandemic) we plan to offer many of the 2021 Festival presentations online digitally again for those wishing to participate from remote locations around the globe at a lower cost”, said Smith.

So dust off your baskets and amanita hats, and welcome back to the Telluride Mushroom Festival! Come RECONNECT and celebrate “all things fungal.” Because … We love mushrooms!

Britt A. Bunyard
Executive Director, Telluride Mushroom Festival

Save the Date: August 18-22, 2021

(Thank you to all who donated to Fund Fungi for our Future, we raised $4,359!)

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