Crowd Above, J Koskinen


Crowd Above, J Koskinen

Crowd Above

It’s sensory overload of the very best kind: the robust pairing of culinary and visual arts happening under one celestial roof.

The Telluride Festival of the Arts takes place Friday, August 17 (starting at noon) – Sunday, August 19 (ends at 3 p.m.), in Mountain  Village, Telluride. The unique event, produced by the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and sponsored by The Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, generally welcomes over 5,000 locals visitors “uptown,” but this year could be different –  bigger and better.

Why so upbeat?

This year, the Festival of the Arts is happening in the run up to the first leg of  the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge: Stage 1, Durango to Telluride, August 20, so huge crowds should be rolling into town. Literally.

And this year’s Festival of the Arts is also taking place in concert with the 31st annual Telluride Shroomfest, Thursday, August 16 – Sunday, August 19, The event, which features workshops, forays, medicinal beer, and tastings, takes place mostly downtown in the Town of Telluride. But some of those tastes will migrate back uptown.

On Friday at 5:30 p.m., Sarah Mandell, a regularly featured chef at the Wilkinson Public Library‘s popular Books and Cooks series is scheduled to prepare grilled pizzas with oyster mushrooms at the Festival of the Arts’ kick-off party, Martini Mambo, where mixology and dance-ology are shaking so we are stirred at one unforgettable evening.

Also on Friday, the Wilkinson Public Library hosts the popular and free Chef Cook-Off, in which talented cooks compete for the coveted Mushroom Cap by preparing incredibly creative and delicious wild mushroom dishes for the public to taste. One of the judges of the contest is Arizona restauranteur, chef and cookbook author Lisa Dahl, also a featured Books and Cooks chef. And Dahl plans to reveal her classic Italian menu secrets at the Festival of the Arts’ Grand Tasting, where she will be preparing a dish of grilled portobello mushrooms served on a garlic and herb grilled ciabatta.

“The Telluride Festival of the Arts is thrilled to partner with the Telluride Mushroom Festival in 2012. Both events have so much to offer residents and guests of the region. We also greatly appreciate the cultural connection between the Mushroom Festival and the Wilkinson Public Library with our event. That connection is going to enhance the vibrancy of all that is going on in Telluride and Mountain Village throughout the weekend,” said Terry Adams, Producer, Telluride Festival of the Arts.

Are your taste buds standing at attention yet?

The Grand Tasting is the signature event of the Festival week, an evening of culinary and social celebration featuring regional restaurants, breweries, fine wineries and spirits. In addition to Dahl’s contributions, a sampling of other upcoming offerings includes almond-stuffed, bacon wrapped Moroccan Mojul dates from 9545, dry aged Steak with stuffed twice-baked potato and Cabernet reduction from Allred’s, and root beer rib sticks from The Peaks Resort & Spa.

The full list of 2012 Grand Tasting participants includes:

• 9545 Restaurant
• Allred’s
• The Peaks Resort & Spa
• Flavor
• Honga’s Lotus Petal
• Kendra’s Kitchen Natural Foods
• Oskar Blues Brewery
• Ouray Candy Co.
• REV at Hotel Madeline
• SMAK BAR at Hotel Madeline
• SKA Brewing
• Smuggler Joe’s Brew Pub
• Telluride Brewing Company
• The View Bar & Grill at Mountain Lodge
• Tomboy Coffee Roasters
• Tomboy Tavern

The art part of the Festival of the Arts showcases the work of 45 of the nation’s finest visual artists, chosen in a blind-jury process across 13 media categories: ceramics, digital art, drawing, fiber, glass, graphics and printmaking, jewelry, metal-works, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and wood.

For a preview of all that’s in store for locals and guests, watch Clint Viebrock’s video.

Note: Photo credit Jen Koskinen

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