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Two events celebrate morels in May April 18, 2009 - pjstar.com
Wyoming mushroom fest, 'Morel University' promise fun for fungi lovers
WYOMING — Morel mushroom fans and fanatics will now have their choice of two activities on May 2, each filling some of the gap left by this year's cancellation of the Illinois State Morel Mushroom Championship and Festival.
In addition to "Morel University" in Henry, which will offer detailed expert instruction on finding the prized fungi, there will be a first-time mushroom festival and auction in Wyoming.
The Wyoming event, set in Thomas Park and sponsored by the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce and the Stark County Tourism office, will include vendors of food, crafts and other merchandise from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 1 p.m., there will be an auction of mushrooms packaged in half-pound bags.
"I was going to see about doing a hunt to begin with after the one in Henry was canceled," said Duke Frisby, an avid 'shroomer who chairs a committee planning the event. "But we decided it was going to be too much of a hassle to set that up with the time we had. Maybe next year."
But there will be mushroom soup and chowder, and Frisby predicted this year's weather should produce a big supply of mushrooms for the auction. Morel hunters can have their 'shrooms sold by paying a small fee.
"I think it's going to be an excellent year for mushrooms," said Frisby, who also operates a sideline business selling mushroom-related items.
The "university" has been set up by Tom Nauman, who founded the state championship in 1996. He turned the event over last year to a Henry businessman, who canceled this year's contest because of rising insurance costs and lack of sponsor support.
A roster of experts that will include a professor of mycology will offer a four-hour morning session of classroom and field instruction at a rural Henry golf course that often was the site of the hunt. It's designed for serious 'shroomers, who will pay "tuition" of $75.
"We've set a limit of 60 (participants), and we're up to 43," Nauman said Friday. "I've talked to several other people who said they were interested, so I think we're probably going to fill those spots."
► For more information on Morel University, a mushroom-hunting course to be held May 2 at a rural Henry golf course, see www.morelmania.com; or contact Tom Nauman at (800) 438-4213 or Tom@morelmania.com.
► For more information on Wyoming's Morel Mushroom Festival and Auction set for May 2, contact event chairman Duke Frisby at 883-3057 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Stark County economic development coordinator Denny Rewerts at 286-6200 or email@example.com.