Music, mushrooms and fun planned in McCloud this weekend

Shareen Strauss
McCloud Mushroom, Music and Wine Festival coordinator Darlene Mathis, above left, and previous organizer Elfi Geuthe hold the poster for the 10th annual event, which will be available Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The McCloud event includes workshops about mushrooms and creating with clay, live music, costume contest, food, beverage and crafts booth and more.

It all started in the early spring 10 years ago. There was talk among some mushroom hunters at a barbecue in McCloud.

Shasta Reflections store owner Michael Geuthe talked about mushrooming with local hunter Tommy Simons and mushroom expert Eric Shramm. Then they kicked around ideas about doing an authentic small town event on this theme in the spring to bring people into town.

“The mushrooms have always been a secret world,” said Geuthe. “Mountain people have always been mushroom hunters.”

Now, this “self-sustained festival” has evolved into a musical, mushroomy, crafters and artist affair.

The 10th annual McCloud Mushroom Music and Wine Festival has many twists and turns to entertain and delight locals and tourists of all ages.

“After all these years with the tradition of the Mushroom Festival, we have tourists that now plan their travels to come through McCloud at our Mushroom Festival and then hit us again on the way back when we are having our Flea Market the next weekend afterwards,” said Mercantile proprietor Darlene Mathis, who is helping coordinate the event this year.

Featuring workshops throughout the two day event from the infamous Fungi Eric Shramm mushroom talks, to clay pot making for children, there are many activities and learning for everyone.

See the listing in this newspaper for times of the various workshops.

As a tradition with these McCloud festivals, there will be booths of all kinds to explore and seek out treasures or entertainment. Food booths with mushroom delectables of the unusual kind will be available for the inquisitive. There will be artisans and craftsmen selling their wares.

The McCloud Arts Society along with Keith Anderson has a “Sleeping Musician” booth that will delight the tipsters. It just has to be seen and heard to understand.

And talking about music – there are two days of all-star lineups including Ryan Marchand, Alison & Victor, Beso Negro, McCloud Elementary School Jazz Band, Carol Jean Cox, Matthew Songmaker and the Mountain Messengers, and Sundown Poachers.

As traditions go, for the true mushroom hunter’s delight, there is the mushroom contest for the largest morels and largest boletus paying out $100 for each. Judged by Shramm, “no dirt and worm weight counts.” The deadline is at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

And, there is a new twist this year – a mushroom costume contest. If there is a need for gathering ideas for this prize winning event, go to Facebook page: McCloud Mushroom, Music and Wine Festival. There will be pictures and suggestions for a winning costume to adorn oneself in.

This year, there is more. The grand finale is a three course gourmet mushroom dinner prepared by the “King of Mushrooms” Todd Spainer. There will also be a no-host wine and beer bar in the Great Room at the Mercantile. All the monies raised will go to support the Rails to Trails initiative in Siskiyou County.