Fungus among us: register for Fungus Festival now

The 13th annual Fungus Festival will take place from Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The event will showcase gourmet cooking from area, raising funds to support environmental sustainability efforts. Photo courtesy Erin Cooper/Chugach National Forest

The fireweed is bloomed out, berries crowd bushes, salmon are spawning, and the mushrooms are popping up to say hello. It’s August in Cordova and it’s time to celebrate the harvest season and explore the surprising ways forest, fungus and sea are inexorably interconnected at Cordova Fungus Festival. Whether you want to dive deep into the world of fungus, lichen and their counterparts in the alpine and marine habitats or just dip your toe into the mushroom fun, there’s something for everyone at this event. Full adult festival registration, which covers three days plus of fun fungus events, is only $10 and gets you access to:

  • Live wild-food cooking demos with master forager and chef, Chad Hyatt.
  • Guided forest forays with local and regional mushroom and foraging experts.
  • Fungus Basics Classes.
  • Harvest Writing Workshop.
  • Discounted class fee for: Natural Dyeing Class, Fungus Fiber Art Workshops with The Net Loft, Copper River Canvas paint night and more!

Registered or not, all are invited to Fungus Festival’s open events at the Cordova Center on Friday night including:

  • Wine & Cheese Mushroom Mixer at 5-7 p.m.
  • Mushroom Potluck & Recipe Swap (bring your own potluck item and recipe or come sample others’) concurrent with Wine Mixer at 5-7 p.m.
  • Live Auction featuring a Stan Stephen’s Glacier Cruise, original watercolor by Karl Becker, a case of locally smoked king salmon and more! Friday 6:30-7 p.m. concurrent with above events.

Kids will enjoy Fungus Festival too, with family-friendly forays and youth-centered events on Saturday and Sunday. Plus, registration is free for kids 12 and under. Student registration for teenagers and college students is only $5 for the whole weekend.

Don’t forget Fungus Festival’s most popular event, the Copper River Watershed Project’s annual Wild Harvest Feast featuring Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association’s guest: Chef de Cuisine for Kaladi Bros., Lindsay Kucera. Tickets are $70 and on sale now at the Copper River Watershed Project office at 511 First St. or by calling 907-424-3334. This three-course dinner is followed by a scrumptious collection of desserts donated by Cordova’s finest bakers and a silent auction brimming with locally-sourced and handmade items.

Cordova Fungus Festival is a partnership between the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, the Chugach National Forest – Cordova Ranger District, Copper River Watershed Project, Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, and The Net Loft. Together, partners work to promote conservation education and increase environmental literacy by inviting locals and visitors to explore and appreciate the natural world around them.

For a full festival schedule and to register, visit cordovafungusfest.com or stop into the Cordova Chamber of Commerce office at 404 First St. between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cordova Fungus Festival is also seeking volunteers for everything from T-shirt sales and the welcome table to mushroom collecting and wine and cheese mixer set-up. Sign up to fill a shift online via cordovafungusfest.com or call the Chamber at 907-424-7260 and get a free festival registration or vintage Fungus Fest shirt.