Editor’s Note: We originally planned for this to be a post-event feature, but Cherie was having so much fun that she wanted to give folks a chance to check out the rest of the festival today!
When an avid morel mushroom hunter stands before 250 people recounting a time when he walked out of the woods wearing only his underwear, socks and shoes, giggles burst but people listen. Finding the elusive morel is no laughing matter, but to the attendees of the morel hunting lecture at the 49th National Annual Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City, the entertainment was as delicious as the soup – seasoned with laughter and emboldened with rich enthusiasm.
After watching culinary guru John Sheets prepare a mouth-watering array of wild edibles, the crowd listened as native Anthony Williams recounted tales of his morel hunting lineage, sharing tricks and tips passed down through generations. Afterward, he shared a morel song accompanied by his wife, Robin Lee Berry. No one would walk away from Friday’s festivities empty-handed.
What Boyne City offers this weekend is more than just words. Yesterday organizers and volunteers from the community accompanied four bus loads of hungry hunters, through private land, to search and pick as they will again today. Experts offered suggestions and visitors shared in the excitement of discovering their first morel. Not everyone walked away with something in their sack, but each person had the opportunity to inspect this elusive mushroom–some place other than their dinner plate or produce aisle. Immediately following, attendees were invited to celebrate at the Morelfest Wine and Dine, which featured an elegant five course morel-themed dinner with wine pairings. The evening ended with live music from blues artist Larry McCray on Lake Charlevoix.
Weekend events remain and there is still time to join in the fun! Saturday (May 16) offers another full day of activities, beginning with a morel breakfast, followed by a hunting competition; there will be a cooking demonstration by an award-winning chef; a craft-fair, where you can purchase morel inspired walking sticks, wood carvings, mesh morel-picking bags, jams, jellies and many other treats; a carnival to entertain the children or satisfy the inner-child, and another chance to experience great music with Twisted Finster. If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Boyne City, grab your family and friends and join in the fun!
…and just why was a morel hunter walking out of the woods in his underwear?
Apparently Tony had discovered “the mother lode” and, rather than leave them, utilized the remainder of his clothing to carry home the all the morels. Although he made no promises, with generous spirit and good humor he offered some of his secrets and instilled hope in a new generation of mushroom hunters.
Click for the all the details of the Boyne City Morel Festival or grab your Michigan map and head to Boyne City.