Don’t miss the 54th Annual National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City this Thursday through Sunday.
Boyne’s celebration of this local favorite mushroom welcomes spring to Northern Michigan with events including a wine and beer tasting, weekend-long carnival, live entertainment in the park, mushroom hunts and foods, and the Morel Mob … which could land you two pounds of morel mushrooms.
“What the chamber and the local businesses like about the festival is it’s in the spring. In the summer, nearly every weekend there is a festival or a major event of some sort and people just naturally come up north for the summer to go boating and all that,” said Jim Baumann, Executive Director of the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce. “But what we really like about this event is that it’s so early in the season in May, there isn’t too much that is going on and it’s a real boom to the economy.”
New events this year include Local’s night on Thursday and the Morel Mob morel mushroom give-away contest on Saturday, and a newer event, introduced last year, the humane society 5k walk with your pet.
“Pretty much everything else is pretty similar to previous years,” said Baumann. “It’s been successful and we don’t change too much from year to year.”
Two different mushroom hunts are held: a guided hunt on Friday and a competitive hunt on Saturday.
“We move (mushroom hunts) around each year—it’s a secret location,” said Baumann. “(It costs) $15 for guided and $20 for competitive. It goes towards the buses and for the cash prizes for the competitive hunt.”
The morel giveaway will be held Saturday. Anyone interested in entering the raffle may register at participating downtown stores. And, on Saturday, all participants form a Morel Mob going from store to store, drawing the names of the winners.
“We usually have about 20 different stores and restaurants in the downtown area and they offer two pounds of morels or possibly a gift certificate … at their store if they don’t have morels,” Baumann said. “There are a lot of visitors who (join in) if there was no luck in finding the mushrooms (during the hunt). It’s another way to get mushrooms.”
Sunday the Northern Michigan Cancer Crusaders will have a tent in Veterans Park with music, food and will be accepting donations to go toward helping local families fight cancer.
“The proceeds go to local families who have someone that is suffering from cancer,” said Baumann. “That might help to drive them to get treatment or help them out to get treatment.”
Smaller events at the Morel Festival include the entertainment in Veteran’s park with classic rock band Onager, local favorite rock band Audio Circus, a craft show with more than 60 artists that sell their handmade items–some morel oriented, and the T.J. Schmidt & Company carnival.
“There’s something for everyone,” Baumann said. “We get people from out of town who have never hunted mushrooms and we suggest they go to the guided hunt. The competitive hunt is for veterans who know what they’re doing.”
He added, “It’s a very festive weekend.”
See page 7 for a full schedule of mushroom festival events.
Don’t miss the 54th Annual National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City from Thursday May 15 through Sunday May 18.
• 3 p.m. T.J. Schmidt Amusements Carnival
• 6 p.m. Event To Be Announced
• 10-6 p.m. Craft Show, Veteran’s Park
• 10-6 p.m. M.O.R.E.L. Show “Michigan Outdoor Recreational Experiences & Living Show” in Sunset Park.
• 3 p.m. Carnival
• 4 p.m. Morel Seminar
• 4:30 p.m. “Guided” Morel Hunt Departs Veterans Park $15; Register in advance www.morelfest.com
• 5:30 & 8 p.m. Morelfest Wine & Dine; make reservations at boynechamber.com
• 8:30 p.m. Onager performs; $5
• 7-10 a.m. Morel Breakfast at VFW 1108 Boyne Ave.
• 7:30 a.m. National Mushroom Hunt; Register 7:30-9 a.m. at 1315 Boyne Ave.; Leave at 9 a.m.
Winners announced at 3:30 p.m. in festival tent. Register in advance at morelfest.com
• 8 a.m. Humane Society 5K run register in Sunset Park beginning 7:30 a.m..
• 10-6 p.m. Craft Show
• 10-6 p.m. M.O.R.E.L. Outdoor Show
• 11 a.m. Carnival
• Noon-3 p.m. Taste of Morels! Area restaurants & chefs provide morel infused delicacies! Beer & wine available. Advanced tickets at Morel Fest’ Store
• 4 p.m. Great Morel Giveaway at downtown merchants
• 8:30 p.m. Audio Circus performs; Admission is $5 at the door Beer & wine
• 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Morel Pole; Hang your morels on the mushroom pole to win prizes; 211 Water St.
• 5:30 p.m. Morel Pole awards
• 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Craft Show, Veteran’s Park
11-6 p.m. M.O.R.E.L. Outdoor Show
• Noon, Carnival
• 1-5 p.m. Cancer Crusaders Live Music, Auction & Food. All proceeds to local families.
Shop the “Morel Festival Store” open from 10-5 p.m. at the tent for all your morel gear
Forms and more festival information available at www.morelfest.com