Looking for something fun to do today? Here’s an idea!
Two of our staff members went to the 30th annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. We figured it’s a festival, and it’s about mushrooms – what a wonderful combination! We learned that this mile long event, always held the weekend after Labor Day, is not only fun, but it benefits non-profit organizations. There are volunteers everywhere at the Festival, which is truly a community event.
We found parking at a church for only $5, and admission was only $3 per person (free for children under 12). Like many festivals, there were plenty of places to buy food. There were so many types of food – things I remember from festivals and carnivals I went to years ago, as well as less traditional items. We saw places to buy lemonade, Italian sausage, kettle corn, soft pretzels, deep fried Oreos, pierogies, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream, Portabella mushroom wraps, chicken Thai wraps, fried cheddar curds, maple cotton candy, sushi burritos, breaded mushrooms, crepes, arepas, fries, chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, cupcakes, chocolates, smoothies, and so much more. Many dishes there were made with mushrooms, such as risotto, mushroom soup, mushroom mac & cheese, and even burgers that were 1/3 mushrooms and 2/3 beef. The first thing we tried, of course, was an order of breaded mushrooms.
We must make a special mention about the Alex’s Lemonade Stand there. They have regular and frozen lemonade, and also offer several flavors that can be added in (mango and cherry were two of them).
There are so many things to see and do there. There is an antique and classic car show, the Mushroom Run and Fun Walk, a parade with dining and dancing in the street, a soup and wine event, and live music. A culinary tent is set up, and features chefs including Fabio Viviani, Brian Duffy, Lisa Keys, and Amy Falkenstein, among others. Sharrie Williams was also there from 6 ABC News, as well as Fun Gus. We saw a booth that had henna and also face painting. For children, there are balloon animals, carnival rides, The “MushRoom”, and many other activities.
There were people dressed in funny suits. One was wearing a banana costume, and peddling frozen chocolate covered bananas. One was wearing a huge cat head and handing out flyers for a concert later that night; another was in a green costume that we think was a cricket.
There were probably hundreds of vendors there. In addition to the food, there were companies that had information about their companies and/or products, and plenty of things to be bought, and some they were giving away. We were given a really nice, large bag that we ended up using to carry all of our purchases, compliments of the Chester County Department of Emergency Services. It has a list of suggested items for emergency kits printed on it, and came with booklets with information about emergency preparedness. They also had plastic cups, portable band-aid holders, magnetic clips, and pens. The Haly Companies had free bottles of water, which were much appreciated. PAC (Precision AirConvey) not only gave away several items (magnetic clips, ice cream scoops, tire pressure gauges, and bottle openers), but they also are looking for people to hire. We were also given a foam ‘hammer’ and a plastic ‘hard hat’ from Tague Lumber. I’m sure there were many other things, but we didn’t get to everything.
Other street vendors had mushroom starter kits, mushroom shaped hats, kids’ clothes, decorative dishes, maple syrup, honey, toe rings, pickles, decorative metal pieces, jewelry, health and beauty products, hats, hot sauces, dog treats, t-shirts, bonsai and other indoor trees, rock creations, carved wood items, candles, fudge, balsamic vinegar from Italy, and of course, many things shaped like mushrooms! We found many free samples throughout the festival, which is nice. We like to try new things, and then were able to make informed decisions about what to buy! At one table, they had different mushrooms for sale. They had the more common white mushrooms and portabella, but also some more exotic mushrooms such as maitake, beech, shiitake, oyster, pom pom, and royal trumpet.
The little bit of rain that fell at one point did nothing to dampen the spirits of those in attendance. There is so much to do for everyone, but they request that you please leave your pets at home.
Photos for this event can be found on our Facebook page.