Published on July 25th, 2012 | by Chris Wotton0
‘Shroom spotting at the Humungus Fungus Festival
Mushrooms are serious business at the Humungus Fungus Festival in Michigan’s picturesque and vintage village of Crystal Falls. After a ‘humongous fungus’ or giant mushroom, was found in the area several years ago, the festival was created to celebrate the mushroom, which is thought to be the largest in the world, and share it with the world.
The mushroom in question, likely over 1,500 years old based on its average rate of growth through the soil, weighs around eleven tonnes – all beneath the forest floor on the state border with Wisconsin! In its awe, locals and tourists gather to put on this wacky four-day festival, where amongst other events participants eat the world’s largest mushroom pizza – the Humungus Pizza. A rummage sale plus buckboard, horseshoe, volleyball and golf tournaments also feature, along with the chance to do some Laos-style tubing and float down the river in an old rubber tyre. Dances, parades and a piñata game are put on for the kids, along with that stalwart of the American festival – the strongest man contest.
Food wise, there is a Pancake Breakfast, Ice Cream Social and Pie Social. The Salad Luncheon at St. Mark's Church also offers tasty culinary selections, and a wine tasting session is also on the schedule. There is also the chance to catch passing floats and a softball game, and the day is wound up with an impressive firework display to truly do the fungi world proud. What’s more – stop the press! – you can expect a mushroom cook-off at the Harbour House Museum.
Be warned, though – there’s not all that much to see above ground. Only small offshoots of the mushroom, which was discovered during US Navy research in 1988, actually poke through the surface as button mushrooms in the autumn. The rest is underground and out of sight, so those turning up and expecting to see one enormous mushroom on show will likely be disappointed. This year’s Humungus Fungus Festival takes place from 2nd – 5th August. Fungus fudge, fungus burgers and fungus t-shirts will all be on sale. Crystal Falls also celebrates the Harvest Festival in September, though not on as grand a scale as the Humungus Fungus Fest. The area makes a great destination for enjoying its beautiful lakes and for a spot of bear watching.