Cordova festival celebrates fungus

Guided woodland forays, art and cultivation workshops are on tap

Different types of mushrooms sit on a baking pan. (Photo by Sarah Phillips/for The Cordova Times)

Autumn approaches on Prince William Sound and the welcome mat is out for participants in the 12th annual Cordova Fungus Festival, Aug. 30-Sept. 2, at the Cordova Center.

Excursions throughout the Chugach National Forest and surrounding lands during the festival weekend will celebrate the interconnected life-cycle of fungus, salmon and the forest.

Kick-off

Festival activities begin on the evening of Aug. 30 at the Copper River Gallery with the scientific and fine artwork of Kristin Link. The Wine & Cheese Mushroomers Mixer, The Great Mushroom Recipe Swap, and a presentation by Rick Van de Poll on fungi of Cordova and their ecosystem services will take place on the evening of Aug. 31.

Chugach National Forest Mycologist Kate Mohatt, left, leads a forest foray in the Chugach National Forest on Sept. 4, 2015. (Photo by Nick Docken/for The Cordova Times)

Forest forays

Guided forest forays led by local and expert mycologists, mushroom display tables lined with locally plucked mushrooms, fiber art workshops, fungus classes, and kids’ events will take place over the weekend. After a morning of foraging in the woods on Saturday, Sept. 1, mycologist and author Noah Siegel will offer a presentation on local edible, poisonous and dye mushrooms.

Ken Hodges, retired U.S. Forest Service biologist with the Cordova Ranger District and local mushroom expert, looks at a mushroom through a magnifying glass at the U.S. Forest Service building in Cordova on Sept. 6, 2015. (Photo by Nick Docken/for The Cordova Times)

Workshops

This year’s festival will also feature a home cultivation workshop with Gabe LeGrange from Far North Fungi and a field sketching workshop with artist Link.

Wild Harvest Feast

Laura Cole, of 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern near the entrance to Denali Park is this year’s featured chef at the Wild Harvest Feast on the evening of Sept. 1. She is the guest of the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association fall Coho Media Tour.

A silent auction at the feast will feature artisan wares and handcrafted items including pottery, plant-dyed silks, jams, jellies, and hand-knits. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the festival and Copper River Watershed Project, a regional non-profit that promotes a salmon-rich, intact watershed and culturally diverse communities.

The mushroom, Angel Wing. (Photo by Sarah Phillips/for The Cordova Times)

Join the fun

Cordova Fungus Festival is a partnership between the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, the Chugach National Forest Cordova Ranger District, and others.

Registration is required. The cost is $10 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; children 12 and under are free. Cultivation and field sketching workshops require festival registration and have an additional fee. Sign up online at www.cordovafungusfest.com or call 907-424-7260.

Fiber & Art workshops with The Net Loft also require pre-registration by calling 907- 424-7337.

Tickets for the Wild Harvest Feast, featuring wild Copper River coho salmon and mushrooms, $65 apiece, and are available from the Copper River Watershed Project by calling 907-424-3334.

For more information, to register and see a full schedule of Cordova Fungus Festival activities, visit www.cordovafungusfest.com or the Cordova Fungus Festival Facebook page.