31st Mushroom Fest back Sept. 10 & 11

MUSHROOM FESTIVAL LOGOKENNETT SQUARE — The 31st Annual Mushroom Festival brings back the fungi celebration for another year of fun as mushrooms take center stage in Kennett Square — the Mushroom Capital of the World. From food, to art, to music, to contests this year’s festival is again bursting with fun(gi) for everyone.

Be part of the fun doing the Mushroom Stroll down Mushroom Boulevard (State Street the rest of the year) on September 10 and 11, 2016 at the 31st annual Mushroom Festival. Add in the Community Parade with Dining and Dancing in the Streets and Old Fashioned Carnival opening on Friday evening, September 9 and there’s a whole weekend of fun in Kennett Square.

New this year, the Amateur Mushroom Cook-Off is a qualifying event of the World Food Championships. The theme for both events is Breakfast! On Saturday, September 10 the Amateur Mushroom Cook-Off starts at 10:30 am in the Special Events Tent. After judging at 11:30, the winner will receive a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships to compete with their mushroom breakfast recipe for a chance to win great prizes including $100,000.

At 3 pm on Saturday, it is the National Fried Mushroom Eating Championship in the Special Events Tent as contestants vie for this year’s title of eating the most fried mushrooms in eight minutes. The World Record remains at 11.5 pounds, set in 2014.  The contestant who devours the most of Buona Food’s original fried breaded mushrooms in eight minutes will win a $1000 prize. A new twist for this year is the crowning of the first ever Local Champion. Amateurs who live within a 15-mile radius of Kennett Square are eligible for a special $200 prize and title of Local Champion. All are invited to cheer our contestants as the gobble down unbelievable amounts of deliciousness.

Once the Street Fair closes on Saturday evening, the Special Events Tent opens for a special Christine Havrilla and Mason Porter concert. Get tickets now (link at mushroomfestival.com) and extend your Saturday evening in Kennett Square.

At the Antique and Classic Car Show on Saturday, Sept. 10, stroll down Broad Street to see some of the region’s unique cars. The second block of the car show features electric cars from the MD Volt and Eastern Electric Vehicle Car Clubs. Festival Saturday is also the star of Drive Electric Week and these cars have come from far and wide on electric power to celebrate.

Start your Sunday morning (September 11) at the Mushroom Run and Fun Gus Walk along the Red Clay Creek; race begins at 8:30 am. The Soup and Wine Event takes Center Stage in the Special Events Tent at 11 am on Sunday as guests vote for the best Mushroom Soup in the region and sample the area’s local wines. Mushroom Judging in the Special Events tent starts at noon and the mushrooms are sold starting about 2 pm.

Festival favorite events returning for 2016 include the Growers’ Exhibit, cooking demonstrations in the Culinary Tent, Mushroom Soup at the Masonic Lodge, great acts on the Children’s Stage, the Cute-as-a-Button (Mushroom) Baby Photo Contest, Live Music on the community stage, and the Painted Mushroom Silent Auction.

Be sure to drop by the Cute-as-a-Button (mushroom) Baby Photo Contest and drop some pocket change to vote for your favorite photo. The photo that collects the most funds will be crowned 2016’s “Cutest.” New this year, all proceeds benefit the A. I. Dupont Children’s Hospital.

The Street Fair features nearly 250 vendors with lots of ways to enjoy mushrooms from mushroom soup to grilled portabellas, to wraps and ravioli, to mushroom ice cream. On the shopping side, there mushroom-inspired sculptures, mushroom jewelry, clothing and more.

Don’t forget the Mushroom Festival is a great place to take home some of the freshest mushrooms around. Stop by the Mushroom Sales Tent and place your order any time then pick up your mushrooms from the refrigerated trucks near the exits on your way home.

Admission is $3 for everyone 12 and up. All proceeds benefit local and regional non-profit organizations through the Mushroom Festival Grant program. Last year 47 local organizations received $85,000 in grants to help our diverse community.

Please note pets are not allowed at the Festival.

Check out the official Mushroom Festival website at www.mushroomfestival.org for an up-to- date listing of everything that’s happening.

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