Anyone going to the Fungus Fair this weekend?
It sounds interesting. Has anyone gone in previous years? What's it like?
December 6-7, 2008
39th Annual Fungus Fair
Oakland Museum - Natural Sciences Gallery
Learn about the noble lives of mushrooms at the museum’s annual Fungus Fair—Fungus & Fire, Saturday, Dec 6 (10 a.m.–6 p.m.) and Sunday, Dec 7 (12-5 p.m.). The fair explores the role of fungi and mushrooms in the aftermath of California’s devastating forest fires.
Fungus & Fire offers hundreds of fresh specimens on display, cooking demonstrations with local chefs, craft and food vendors, mushroom ID, and a new wrinkle: old sci-fi films featuring mushrooms gone amok. All activities are included with museum admission.
Young visitors can take part in hands-on activities Saturday (11–4) and Sunday (12–4), part of the museum’s monthly Family Explorations! program. Kids can make mushroom ice cream, dye, jewelry, and clay models; build mushroom-growing kits; and use a microscope to explore fungi.
The Fair also features talks and slide shows by mycologists, authors, and scientists. Confirmed speakers include Bob Mackler (“Mushrooms 101: Reproduction, Spore Dispersal, Edibility, and Toxicity”), Dr. Else C. Vellinga of the UC Berkeley Department of Plant and Microbial Biology (“Mushrooms, Toadstools, and Beyond”), and Philip Ross, a mushroom-inspired artist, educator, and mycologist.
It's a fun time, though when we went most of the food demos were pretty basic mushrooms. It probably depends on the year and what's sprouting, but I'm definitely glad we went.
It's a little crowded, a little disorganized, but if you can get over that it was really interesting to wander around and look at the variety of local mushrooms on display, especially examples of the few deadly mushrooms we have in our area, which I'm now fairly comfortable identifying and can steer clear of anything that looks like them.