27th Annual Mushroom Festival will feature three days of diverse events, activities
KENNETT SQUARE — Like the product that spawned it, the Mushroom Festival continues to grow and thrive, and the 27th version is likely to further that trend this weekend.
A community parade kicks off the festivities on Friday at 6 p.m. at Sixth and Broad Streets; Old-Fashioned Carnival will run from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the festival continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year’s edition will add the first-ever Fried Mushroom Eating Championship on Saturday at 1:30 pm in the Special Events tent. In addition, there will be farm tours, growers’ exhibits, celebrity chefs, cooking demos, contests, games, music, and more – all to celebrate the region that produces over 65 percent of the country’s mushrooms.
The fried-mushroom contest is the first All Pro Eating-sanctioned Fried Mushroom Eating Championship ever. The winner will be distinguished in the records as establishing the bar for fried mushroom consumption – as well as receiving a $600 first-place prize.
Other events include top chef Antonia Lofaso, who will share a few mushroom dishes as the first in a line-up of guest chefs in the Culinary Tent. Also appearing is Dana Herbert, winner of TLC’s Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker. Regional chefs spending time at the Mushroom Festival include Steve Latona, Darryl Harmon, and Barry Sexton. Kennett Square chefs Alfred Jackson of Kennett Square Inn and Brett Hubler of Portabello’s Restaurant will also participate.
But the shrooms remain the true stars and will be featured in various forms, from displays to actual tours of a working farm. A street fair will offer hundreds of vendors, many of whom will incorporate mushrooms into creations ranging from clothing to culinary. Kennett Square’s popular ice cream store, La Michoacana, will return with a crowd favorite: mushroom ice cream.
Admission is $2 per person (ages 12 and up). Proceeds from the sale of the admission wristbands fund the Mushroom Festival’s grant program. Last year, the Mushroom Festival gave $55,000 to 33 non-profit organizations.
For a rundown of everything that’s happening and to purchase tickets, visit the official Mushroom Festival website: www.mushroomfestival.org.