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Group forms Estacada fungus association

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: NOLENE TRISKA - The recently formed Estacada Fungus Festival Association hopes to expand the towns annual festival, attracting more vendors and children and involving more restaurants.

Mushroom enthusiasts flock to Estacada every autumn for the town’s festival of the fungus, and now they’ll have even more reason to do so.

The dedicated mycologists who organize the festival have formed a membership organization — the Estacada Fungus Festival Association — guided by seven board members.

The group plans quarterly meetings with speakers and mushroom identification and intends to expand the festival.

In previous years, the event has featured a fungus art show, mushroom displays, mushroom identification and two forays to search for fungus. In conjunction with the even, many restaurants around town served mushroom-centric dishes.

Last year the festival attracted approximately 400 people to Estacada from as far as Astoria, McMinnville, Salem and Washougal, Wash.

The association hopes to attract more vendors and involve more restaurants.

“We have the potential to draw people into the community,” said board member Steve Schmidt. “Maybe they’ll stay for the week in town.”

The association also hopes to make the event more family-friendly than it already is.

“We really want to focus on youth outreach,” said board member Nolene Triska. “We want more kids to come out to the fungus outings.”

Schmidt believes getting kids interested in mycology at a young age can result in lifelong learning and that kids who attend the festival particularly enjoy the mushroom forays.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a fungus themed costume parade,” he said. “I think the kids would enjoy that.”

Schmidt hopes that the association will further solidify Estacada’s place on the mycological map.

“(The association will) promote a more positive view of Estacada and bring greater awareness of the role fungi play in the environment and our lives,” he said.

People interested in joining the Estacada Fungus Festival Association should contact the group by writing to them via P.O. Box 1742 Estacada, Ore., 97023.

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