While Cordova’s fishing fleet is out gathering nets full ofCopper River & Prince William Sound salmon, its land-based foragers are hunting wild berries, yellow-footed chanterelles, and king boletes! Those swift salmon that make it past Cordova’s keen fishermen will head upstream, spawn, and leave abundant nutrients on the creek shores. These nutrients are then picked up and transported by fungi to nourish the entire forest. At this time every fall, the community of Cordova welcomes fungus-pluckers, lichen-lovers, and friends of the forest & sea to the Cordova Fungus Festival. The 13th annual event will take place August 30-September 1, 2019 and will be hosted at the Cordova Center meeting facility. Excursions will occur throughout the Chugach National Forest and surrounding lands. The weekend’s activities explore the northernmost coastal temperate rainforest and celebrate the interconnected life-cycle of fungus, salmon, and the forest.
Pre-festival activities begin Thursday, August 29th with a mushroom-themed paint night hosted by Copper River Canvas. On Friday night, everyone is invited to the Wine & Cheese Mushroomer’s Mixer and encouraged to bring their favorite harvest dishes to the Great Mushroom Recipe Swap. Place your bids at the Fungus Festival’s new live auction, and then festival registrants can put on your chef hat for a live wild food cooking demo with foraging expert and chef Chad Hyatt. Saturday and Sunday are filled to the brim with guided forest forays lead by local and expert mycologists, mushroom display tables lined with locally plucked mushrooms, fiber art workshops, fungus classes, and kids’ events. Other festival activities include a natural dyeing with mushroom & plants workshop, harvest writing workshop, bear bread (aka artist’s conk mushroom) painting class and more!
Those with an appetite for wild foods will enjoy the Wild Harvest Feast Saturday night featuring Copper River PWS Marketing Association’s guest: Chef de Cuisine for Kaladi Bros., Lindsay Kucera. This three-course dinner is followed by a scrumptious collection of desserts donated by Cordova’s finest bakers and a silent auction brimming with locally-sourced and handmade items. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the festival and Copper River Watershed Project, a regional non-profit that promotes a salmon-rich, intact watershed and culturally diverse communities.