Perhaps making up for the pervasive aroma of fertilizer wafting from its mushroom farm in Lacey, Ostrom’s is one of the primary sponsors of the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival. This year the event marks its 10th anniversary, and it’s grown — well, like a mushroom. Proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Homeless Backpacks, the South Sound Reading Foundation and other worthy organizations.
After half-mile and five-kilometer “glow runs” Friday night, the festival proper gets underway Saturday morning with Ian Dobson’s steel-drumming in the “Kids’ Zone.” The first of a full lineup of culinary entertainers is Chef Dan Thiessen of Walla Walla’s Wine Country Culinary Institute, followed by Ryan Ross of Supper Corps, Chris Herrera of California Culinary Academy, Main & Vine’s John D’Alelio, Leanne Willard from The Bayview School of Cooking and Food Network Extreme Chef winner Chef Amadeus. “It’s one of my favorite events,” says Amadeus, “because of the hospitality, the new flavors, the people, the community … I get inspired by the flavors I try before the event.” Amadeus and friends will be joined by food educators including popular garden-segment host Ciscoe Morris, recording on site, and Graham Kerr, the British ex-hotelier best known for his 1969-1971 series The Galloping Gourmet.
Among entertainers featured in the Kids’ Zone and the wine-and-beer tent are The Bobbers, the “back-porch blues” of Mike “Burdman” Burdoff, blues singer Rava McLaine, River Ridge Taiko Drums, country singer Anna Robinson, guitarist Andrew Rosie and Tacoma-based, Irish band Sléinte (pronounced “SLANCH-uh”).
Perhaps the biggest-ticket item each year is the “Shroom Feast,” for which chefs from all over the region offer culinary creations highlighting mouth-watering fungi. Yes, there’ll be bistro-style mushroom soup from Forza; mushroom-dusted, alder-smoked New York strip steak from Lucky Eagle Casino and mushroom sliders from Hawks Prairie Rotary. But keep an eye (and nose) out for fanciful, fungal showcases like gumbo with oyster mushrooms and chorizo-and-blue-cheese-stuffed mushrooms from Beau Legs Fish ’n’ Chip, Hawks Prairie Rotary’s mushroom rice pudding with dulce de leche and pear, Lucky Eagle’s truffle-curry-infused taffy and chocolate-and-mushroom mini treats from Mystical Cupcakes. Past festivals even served cones of mushroom ice cream.
What: Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival
Where: Regional Athletic Complex,
8345 Steilacoom Rd. SE, Olympia
When: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30
How much: free – $5
Learn more: 360-259-6672 | Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival