Yesterday my partner and I attended the 30th Annual Mushroom Festival at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum here in Eugene, Oregon. We’d been once before, and were happy to return (especially now that they finally started a shuttle to the site, which is too far to walk to, and we are intentionally carless). There were hundreds of labeled fungi and lichen on display, as well as entertainment, art, crafts, plant sales, and mushroom-heavy offerings from food vendors. Mostly I go to educate myself further about the various types of mushrooms to be found in the Pacific Northwest. This year I even picked up a free permit to collect mushrooms in the nearby national forests! It was rainy (perfect mushroom weather!) but warm and quite pleasant. Of course, you can probably guess my favorite part…
Amanitas!! (photo by melanie.pitt on Flickr)
There were several big beautiful specimens on display, and I even got to overhear another visitor telling her kids how deadly poisonous they were (“you can’t even touch them!”) – which, although untrue, is probably a good thing, to keep the kids from eating them, which would most likely just make them very sick, especially raw.
I didn’t think to bring my camera, so unfortunately couldn’t snap any photos of the several people walking around with Amanita-inspired costumes, shirts or hats. (This city is awesome, we will take any excuse to dress up in elaborate costumes.) But here is one from a previous year that I found online:
(photo by Mount Pisgah Arboretum on Flickr)
They have a “scarecrow contest” every year that is really more like natural-materials sculpture than strictly scarecrows, and the last time we went, we saw this entry inspired by the caterpillar in Alice:
(photo by danikaswimswim on Flickr)
Oregon loves its mushrooms! And A. muscaria may be one of the most famous (although in these parts, chanterelles are a BIG deal, and morels, lobsters, matsutakes, and others make frequent appearances at the local farmers markets).