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By Laura Stec

Fungus are Among Us

Uploaded: Jan 9, 2020

The rains are upon us, and that means mushrooms will be popping up in our forests and neighborhoods. Come find out the name of that mushroom growing next to your front door at the 46th annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair, happening Jan 1 0 - 12. (pick the mushroom and bring it to the fair for proper ID).

The Food Party! loves meshing with mushrooms. A few years ago we joined Fungus Fair sponsors, Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz, on one of their forages to Mendocino. Read about it in The Thrill of the Hunt. Forages are open to all members of the society, and membership is easier than you think - only $20 to join or renew. It’s a wild and fun group of folks with the mission to keep the “fun in fungi.”

For those who prefer to stay local, make a day of it in Santa Cruz this weekend and explore the fascinating world of mushrooms at the fair, where you will learn about the hundreds of beautiful and fascinating species of mushrooms found in the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay area. See an entire room of participant-picked local fungi, re-created into an amazing display of woodland habitat, and experience talks, food demonstrations, and activities for the whole family.

Featured speakers include Dr. Christopher Hobbs, renowned author and medicinal mushroom expert and Dr. Roo Vandegrift, a National Geographic Explorer grant recipient for his continuing biodiversity and conservation research of the threatened Andean cloud forest reserve.


FFSC mushroom experts will be available throughout the fair to identify the mushrooms you’ve found. Bring yours, ideally stored in a paper bag rather than plastic. Paper allows fungi to "breathe" and keeps them fresher.

Visit the Kid's Room for mushroom activities such as clay sculpture, water colors, face painting, mushroom art and making mushroom dyed fabric. Available Saturday and Sunday.

Visit the Vendor Rooms to find a phenomenal assortment of food, books, fresh and dried wild mushrooms, growing kits, artwork, mushroom-dyed silks, jewelry and more. Also food vendors are located throughout the venue.

Attend the After Hours Mushroom Dinner, a catered, multi-course sit down dinner with live music. Each course will be paired with wine. Always a sell-out, separate Admission is required. See website for details.


Friday January 10, 2 PM – 6PM
Saturday and Sunday, January 11 &12, 10 AM – 5 PM
Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA
Admission: General $10, Seniors (60+)/Students $5, Kids under 12 free with adult admission
Friday Admission: $5 for everyone

If you can’t make the fair, you can still catch the incredible new movie Fantastic Fungi, showing in San Francisco, at the Roxie theatre till January 16.

photos by LSIC