people dressed in mushroom costume in parade
Photo by Shannon Christine, courtesy of Telluride Mushroom Festival

These 6 Mushroom Festivals Will Expand Your Mind

From the mountains of Colorado to the valleys of Bhutan, DoubleBlind gives you the best mushroom festivals around the world—where you can learn, dine, trip, and forage to your heart’s content.

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The best way to find a mushroom is to venture into a forest. But what about finding a mushroom festival? Shrooms and other fungi proliferate in woods, valleys, fields, farms, and mountainous areas across the globe. Every year, an eager forager can venture to some of the same places to find large gatherings devoted to these fleshy fruiting wonders. 

While some mushroom festivals focus on cuisine and local culture, others are all about education and exploration. Whatever fest you’re at, there’s always plenty of time scheduled for guided forays into the nearby wilderness where mushrooms can be found. DoubleBlind put together the ultimate guide to the best mushroom festivals. Pack your wicker basket and map and see where the fungus love takes you. 

READ: Seven Weird Mushroom Facts to Please Your Inner Myco-Nerd

MycoFest 2024

For 10 years, Pennsylvania’s MycoFest has served as an intimate incubator for exploring ideas around MycoSymbiotics, a system of research, cultivation, and design promoted by MycoFest founder William Padilla-Brown. Calling himself a “MultiDisciplinary Citizen Scientist,” Padilla-Brown built his MycoSymbiotics concept around a mushroom farm and has amplified the reach of his fungi gospel through teaching, consulting, and vlogging about the importance of permaculture and maintaining the natural ecosystem. “Everything needs something else to exist,” he once said in a video about the festival

Happening in August, MycoFest usually takes place in the great outdoors—it’s going down this year at an arboretum and sculpture garden surrounded by farms and fields. The fest typically revolves around educational workshops, live music, guided forays for foraging, and laid-back gatherings where mushroom lovers show off their fungal finds—including specimens bearing long, tentacle-like stalks or caps big enough to wear as a hat. 

Details: August 2-4, 2024, in State College, Pennsylvania. More info

Matsutake Mushroom Festival

To get to this three-day gathering in the South Asian nation of Bhutan, you have to make your way into the dense forests of the Ura valley, a 90-minute drive from the district capital of Jakar and a good 3,100 meters above sea level at the foot of the Eastern Himalayas. What you will find there is magical: Temples and monasteries, songs and dances, open-air mineral baths, and hikes into the forest to search for the elusive matsutake—a rustic, spicy mushroom that grows at the base of pine trees. 

The trees act as the mushrooms’ mycorrhizal hosts, so the shrooms can’t be farmed on their own: all the more reason to experience them in their natural habitat. They’re a popular delicacy in Japanese cuisine. Still, at this three-day fest, you can taste them in Bhutanese dishes like shamu datshi, a hearty matsutake-and-cheese curry. Municipal officials organize the event at the height of the mushroom season in mid-August; reach out to a Bhutanese friend or a tour guide for details. 

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Details: Mid-August 2024, in Ura, Bhutan. More info

READ: Where are Magic Mushrooms Legal?

Telluride Mushroom Festival

Set in the famed Rocky Mountain mining camp-turned-ski town, this five-day fest has bloomed since its start in 1981 to become the most prominent gathering of shroom enthusiasts in North America. Billed as a “weekend of mushroom love, community connection, and fungi everything,” it includes lectures from esteemed mycologists, expert-guided forays into the nearby San Juan Wilderness, new age-y happenings like the “Alchemical Mushroom Sound Bath,” and a can’t-miss parade where thousands of costumed festivalgoers take over Main Street like a bunch of fungi-happy Wizard of Oz characters. 

The Telluride Mushroom Festival is an excellent place to learn about magic mushrooms. Last year’s schedule included panel experts exploring the use of psilocybin as a psychedelic tool and plant medicine, as well as a workshop on how to make shelf-stable gummies. The rising popularity of mushroom foraging has turned this into a sell-out event, so get your tickets early. 

Details: August 14-18, 2024, in Telluride, Colorado. More info

Mushroom Festival of Kennett Square 

There are a lot of cities that claim to be the capital of something-or-other, and not all of those claims are exactly accurate. Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, is known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” and if it’s not the mushroom capital, it is certainly mushroom capital thanks to the ubiquitous presence of mushies across the area. Situated in the Delaware Valley, the Chester County hamlet (population 5,943) sits at the doorway to a farming industry that produces 500 million pounds of shiitakes, oysters, maitakes, pompoms, criminis, and more per year, making up half of the United States supply. 

Kennett Square’s annual Mushroom Festival has been going on for nearly 40 years now. The two-day jamboree includes vendors selling mushrooms and mushroom-related dishes (such as a creamy soup packed with portabella and white button ’shrooms), a fried-fungal-eating contest, a cooking competition, and more. Don’t forget to say hi to Fun Gus, the beloved local mascot who is, of course, a giant walking mushroom. 

Details: September 7-8, 2024, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. More info

Borgotaro Mushroom Fair

The chunky Borgotaro Porcini mushroom is tagged with the prestigious classification of PGI (“protected geographical indication”), underscoring its standout nature as a locally-grown delicacy from the Taro river valley in northern Italy. Famed for its earthy flavor, this variant of the popular porcini thrives in the rich soil and green forests that spread across the Apennine mountains, where mushroom hunting and trading dates back hundreds of years. 

The best way to taste this “precious jewel” of Italian cuisine is to visit the Borgotaro Mushroom Fair every September in the town of Borgotaro in the province of Parma. During the fest, foodies flock into the woods to forage for precious porcinis. The town’s cobble-stoned streets are filled with vendors, municipal officials, and performers. Along with pasta and snacks that use the porcinis, come prepared to gorge yourself on local cheeses, desserts, beer, cured meats, and barbecued steak. 

Details: September 2024 (exact date TBA), in Borgotaro, Italy. More info

UK Fungus Day 

“Without fungi, animals and plants could not—and would not—exist,” the British Mycological Society declares on the homepage of its annual UK Fungus Day celebration. Various genera of the fungus kingdom indeed play a critical role in ecosystems across the globe. Their networks of microscopic threads, called mycelium, are known to deliver nutrients and even chemical messages to their plant friends. 

Despite all the talk of mushroom domination, UK Fungus Day is also about putting the “fun” in fungi, with events happening from Ireland to Cornwall meant to increase awareness about fungi facts and celebrate shrooms’ natural beauty. Last year’s Fungus Day included numerous guided walks, workshops, mushroom hunts, and even an online cider tasting—since the yeast used to make cider also counts as fungi. Real mycologists know that the biggest highlight of Fungus Day is the photography competition. It’s free to enter, open to multiple age categories, and the winning images capture fungi in a remarkable range of colors, textures, and habitats. 

Details: October 5, 2024, in various parts of the UK. More info

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