Telluride Mushroom Fest: Overview Of #33

Buy tickets here for the 33rd annual Telluride Mushroom Festival.: 4-day Full Festival passes, only $275 for all films, lectures, forays and more; Single-day passes also available online and includes forays and lectures for the chosen day, including evening keynotes and films; forays  (without as pass) only $25.

Thanks to the generosity of La Marmotte, tables have added for their ultimate mushroom dining experience. The white table cloth dinner takes place Friday, August 15, 7:30 p.m.

The 33rd annual Telluride Mushroom Festival opens at Telluride’s Michael D. Palm Theater, Saturday, August 16, 9 a.m., with a fungal-themed invocation when Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlain (an adopted Yaqui elder) strikes the opening notes on a crystal singing bowl. Poet Art Goodtimes and forager and author Gary Lincoff will join “Lightning Heart” on stage to welcome the Telluride Mushroom Festival’s audience to the 4-day conference, which includes  foraging, gourmet mushrooms, medicinal mushrooms used to treat and prevent cancer, and mycoremediation used to clean up the environment.

Art Goodtimes in infamous Mushroom Festival parade

Art Goodtimes, 2014 Master of Ceremonies, in infamous Mushroom Festival parade (2013)



Thanks to the generosity of La Marmotte, tables have added to its pre-Festival ultimate mushroom dining experience. The white table cloth feast takes place Friday, August 15, 7:30 p.m. Master Chef Mark Reggiannini prepares a four-course meal that will be served al fresco on the restaurant’s elegant patio, 150 San Juan Avenue. Hosts include Gary Lincoff, co-founder of the Telluride Mushroom Festival, writer and wit; plus author Langdon Cook, Saturday’s keynote speaker; and Dr. John Holliday, the world’s foremost expert on medicinal fungi from Aloha Medicinals.

la Marmotte patio

Tickets here.

MycoPigments Workshop:

“Pick Mushrooms and Dye with Alissa Allen”


Alissa Allen

Alissa Allen

Mushroom dye artist Alissa Allen brings mushrooms from around the country and world. Learn to process them into dye, unlock the mycopigments with natural ingredients, color wool and create items of enduring charm and beauty. This class is two to three hours and is offered in the downstairs commercial kitchen and workshop space at Elks Lodge.

Ticketed Workshop: $85 includes all materials ($5-10 for additional scarves).

FridayAugust 151:00 – 4:00 pm, Elks Lodge

SaturdayAugust 16, 9:00 – noon, Elks Lodge

MondayAugust 18, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Elks Lodge


WildFoods Dinner with Katrina Blair
, Saturday, August 16, 5 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Katrina Blair

Katrina Blair

Join forager and wild foods advocate, Katrina Blair, for a meal prepared from locally procured wild foods. She gave a TEDxTalk called “13 Global Plants for Survival,” and is the founder of the Local Wild Food Café at Turtle Lake Refuge. Dinner is sure to consist of delicious and elegantly prepared roots, mushrooms, berries, leaves, seeds and needles from evergreen trees, dandelions, amaranth, lamb’s-quarter, high-alpine bistort and plantain that you’ll have to try to believe. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet Katrina and enjoy living food from wild lands. Tickets are limited to 60 guests and will be held at the Elks Lodge.

Ticketed event: $40

All-Day Mycoremediation Workshop: “Heal the Earth”

Tradd Cotter

Tradd Cotter

This one day workshop on Mycoremediation covers all the basics and beyond, making the difficult or confusing possible, giving you the skill-set you need to organize, plan and install your own Mycoremediation project at home or anywhere in the world!

Tradd Cotter from Mushroom Mountain, author of  “Organic Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation”, and Ron Spinosa, NAMA Cultivation Chair, will be assisted by San Juan Mycology team member Travis Custer, in teaching this integrated, hands-on approach to get you expanding biomass, training mycelium to “eat” pollutants, constructing a table-top filtration unit for testing, controlling erosion utilizing fungi, and scaling to larger installations. They will also install a small mycofilter in downtown Telluride for all to see! Make your mark and don’t miss this opportunity to take your knowledge to the next level to form a plan of action for planetary stewardship in your area. Ticketed Workshop: $200

Friday, August 15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Meet County Room, second floor of the Miramonte Building, 333 West Colorado Avenue (Main Street)


All-Day Mushroom Cultivation Workshop: Grow Mushroom


This is a perfect class for beginner to intermediate cultivators wishing to cultivate edible and medicinal mushrooms easily at home or on the farm. Intercropping mushroom species in gardens, landscapes, and in composting piles is an easy way to cultivate edible mushrooms while providing soil creation and biodiversity to harmonize microbial populations using organic methods of agriculture. Ticketed Workshop: $200

Meet at Tomten Farm up on Hastings Mesa

Friday, August 15th,  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



Vendor Fair

The lobby of the Palm Theater will be transformed into a Science Center and vendor fair where the public may enter free to taste snack foods made of mushrooms, meet scientists who are extracting DNA from fungi, and sample coffees, teas and health supplements made from mushrooms. This free, public area will also feature make-your-own oyster mushroom growing kits, while supplies last, and will be open for the duration of the festival, from Saturday, August 16 until the evening of Tuesday, August 19. A special 30-minute give-away will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m., when vendors are encouraged to hand out goodies to the public. No need to purchase a ticket to the Telluride Mushroom Festival to enjoy this free exhibit and demonstration space.

Identifying mushroom dna, one of many activities taking place at Palm Theatre over Mushroom Fest.

Identifying mushroom dna, one of many activities taking place at Palm Theatre over Mushroom Fest.


The Wilkinson Public Library will team with the Telluride Mushroom Festival to host the annual Mushroom Cookoff, where famous chefs compete to win: taste and judge them all to decide whose dish is best. Every attendee of the Telluride Mushroom Festival gets a ticket to the Cookoff with their pass, but the public can purchase Cookoff tickets (only $7) while supplies last at . The Cookoff takes place Saturday, August 16, 1 – 3 p.m. on South Pine between the Library and Smuggler’s Brew Pub (street closure). The family event features entertainment and vendor booths, but the stars of the show are the mushrooms themselves as they sizzle and pop with flavor. Some of the plated presentations by the chefs resemble little gnome gardens and feature mushroom-themed decorations to garner audience favor and votes.

Dish from Mushroom Festival 2013.

Dish from Mushroom Festival 2013.

Lectures at the Palm

A lecture at the Palm, 2013

A lecture at the Palm, 2013

Each of the festival’s four days feature expert lectures from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Palm Theater, with a keynote address by a noteworthy presenter each evening.

Langdon Cook, author of  “Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager,” is the winner of the 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award. The Seattle Times described his writing as “lyrical, practical and quixotic.” Cook is interested in people who live at the intersection of food and nature.

“This gives me a chance to follow multiple threads that intrigue me: wild foods, foraging, natural history, environmental politics, outdoor sports, adventure travel, etc.,” says Cook.

His lecture Saturday at 7:15 p.m. is about the men and women–many of them immigrants from war-torn countries, migrant workers, or refugees from the Old Economy–who bring wild mushrooms to market.

On Sunday, mycologist John Holliday will deliver the 7:15 p.m. keynote on Cordyceps (Medicinal Fungi) and their Mechanism of Action.

Holliday is vice-president of the International Society for Medicinal Mushrooms. He asserts that medicinal mushrooms have an established history of use in traditional oriental therapies and contemporary research has validated much of the ancient knowledge. His lecture will address the interdisciplinary field of medicinal mushrooms and the unique and potent properties they contain. Holliday has designed many successful human trials, including those utilizing mushrooms as an adjunct treatment of advanced stages of cancer.

Taylor Lockwood, whose stunning images of glowing fungi graced National Geographic and turned thousands of readers on to the wonder of mushrooms, will deliver the Monday evening talk at 7:15 p.m. His lecture will be followed by the Telluride debut of the film, Spirits of the Forest, about Lockwood’s worldwide search for bioluminescent and other exotic mushrooms and features the gorgeous wilds of Brazil, Madagascar, China, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia.

Mushrooms that glow in the dark, favorites of mystical, magical Taylor Lockwood.

Mushrooms that glow in the dark, favorites of mystical, magical Taylor Lockwood.

Gary Lincoff discusses the joy of foraging on Tuesday evening at 7:15. He is author of several books, including “The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.” Lincoff will reflect on his early years with Euell Gibbons, and through his stories, will allow us an intimate look into his life spent foraging.

Other noteworthy lectures include “Closing Pandora’s Box: Fungal Solutions to Pollution, Pandemics, and Global Starvation,” by Tradd Cotter; and a talk by Maggie Klinedinst, a researcher at Johns Hopkins, who will explain their findings that controlled magic mushroom use is safe and has lasting benefits. Klinedinst’s unit is currently conducting a trial investigating the use of psilocybin to 1) ameliorate depression and anxiety in individuals diagnosed with cancer; 2) help people to quit smoking; 3) examine the benefits in religious professionals; and 4) examine the effects on long-term meditators and their brains. The talk will consider aspects of the past research, its implications, and where the field of psychedelic research is headed.

Alissa Allen’s MycoPigments

A dye rainbow created by Alissa Allen.

A dye rainbow created by Alissa Allen.

In a workshop entitled “Pick Mushrooms and Dye with Alissa Allen,” learn the simple steps for extracting the color rich pigments found in wild mushrooms and use them to dye wool and silk. At the end of the class you will have a beautiful rainbow of mushroom and lichen-dyed yarn and the recipes used to achieve the colors. All material are provided by Allen, including scarves to dye and wild-harvested mushrooms to render. This class is offered during the Mushroom Festival for only $85, at 3 different times, each limited to only 20 participants. The class is two-to-three hours and is offered in a commercial kitchen and workshop space on Friday, Sunday and Monday, but space is limited, so please secure your tickets in advance on the ticket page.

Gourmet Dinners

At gourmet dinners, these boletus morph into a gourmet dish.

At gourmet dinners, these boletus morph into a gourmet dish.

The Telluride Mushroom Festival is hosting a number of gourmet dinners at restaurants across town. Menus feature the culinary creations of master chefs such as Chad Scothorn of the Cosmopolitan, who are preparing their favorite dishes from locally procured mushrooms and other wild foods. Dinners include the commentary and conversation of Festival luminaries such as John Holliday (medicinal mushrooms), Art Goodtimes (Master of Ceremonies), Paul Kroeger (ethnomycologist), Taylor Lockwood (filmmaker), Gary Lincoff (botanist, forager and wit) and Tradd Cotter (mycoremediation author).  Tickets for these unique dinners are $200 per person and are available on the Mushroom Festival website at


In collaboration with Telluride Brewing Company and Tradd Cotter’s Mushroom Mountain, the Telluride Mushroom Festival commissioned the creation of an award-winning MycoBrew beer that has been infused with a laboratory grade medicinal extract of three powerful medicinal mushrooms at a therapeutic dose. Turkey Tail, Chaga, and Reishi Mushrooms, all well known for their amazing health-stimulating properties, have been added to a select number of kegs and offered at participating restaurants all festival long. To find these brews and locate the restaurants serving them, you can visit for an interactive map that and enjoy refreshing MycoBrew at some of Telluride’s best dining locations!


Mushroom foray lead by Gary Lincoff

Mushroom foray lead by Gary Lincoff

Sure, anyone can learn to identify edible mushroom and plants from a book, but that’s not the way it’s been done for eons in our human history. “Mushroom hunting can reconnect us with our evolutionary roots as hunter-gatherers and give us a deeper awareness of our environment,” says America’s most renowned forager Gary Lincoff.

Join foraging experts, including Lincoff, Lawrence Millman, Noah Siegel, Langdon Cook and Katrina Blair for edible harvesting and ID tours of varying lengths and focuses. There are many available each day to choose from and a schedule can be found on the Telluride Mushroom Festival website. Is its aroma lemony? Peppery? Fishy? Spermatic? Does the underside stain blue? Does the stipe have scabbards (black scales) indicating an Aspen Bolete, or is the stem cream-colored indicative of the gourmet Porcini? Learn these tips and more. Do you need help learning to slice, clean and cook your finds too? After each foray, visit the free public cooking station in Elks Park, where experts are standing by to offer prep advice and show you how to cook your finds.

Elks Park Science Tent

According to Rebecca Fyffe, the Telluride Mushroom Festival’s executive director, “Our scientists will spend the whole festival banging in a tent (with hammers) and there will be DNA everywhere!” What Fyffe jokingly refers to is the Telluride Mushroom Festival’s DNA lab, where bits of mushroom tissue will be slammed between specially treated sheets of filterpaper to preserve the fungal DNA.

Telluride Mushroom Festival’s dna lab

Telluride Mushroom Festival’s dna lab

When you see hundreds of festival participants dressed as mushrooms in our epic annual costume parade, you’ll have no idea that serious science is taking place beneath a public tent a few feet away,” said Matt Kostalek, vice-president of Aloha Medicinals.

Kostalek and chief-scientific-advisor John Holliday, the internationally renowned mycologist at the helm of Aloha Medicinals, offered a grant of over $10,000 to fund the Telluride Institute Voucher Program science tent where DNA specimens of mushrooms will be prepared in Elk’s Park during this year’s Mushroom Festival.

Anthropologist and author Lawrence Millman says of the program, “The DNAing of voucher specimens is an excellent idea, for — in addition to the usual reasons — it will show the world that the Telluride Mushroom Festival is serious and scientific rather than, in the minds of many mycophiles, simply a celebration of shrooms (Psilocybes etc) in all their brain-altering glory.”

Gary Lincoff, author of “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms,” will join John Holliday to co-lead the Voucher Program.

We have created a checklist of the mushrooms we have been finding in the Telluride area since 1981. We know the mushrooms fairly well, but we do not know how they relate to similar mushrooms elsewhere, especially those whose names are being used to represent the ones we are finding in Telluride,” Lincoff says of his hope for the Voucher Program.

Lincoff laid the groundwork for the Voucher Program with mycologist Linnea Gillman, who has entered more Western Slope mushrooms into herbaria than anyone else. This year, Lincoff invited his friend and colleague, mycologist Noah Siegel to assist with the Voucher Program, “You have hundreds of people in the woods collecting mushrooms, and a good deal of these mushrooms they collect are undescribed; ‘new to science,’ so here is an opportunity to take advantage of these Citizen Scientists,” says Siegel, who is excited about the open-air science tent.



This year’s Mushroom Festival is expected to sell out, so please reserve your festival pass online in advance. As always, children under age 12 are FREE and a 15 percent discount on lodging is available through Telluride Alpine Lodging.

Each day will also feature, as outlined above, guided mushroom forays, expert lectures and additional culinary events. There is a MycoBrew Mushroom Beer Release Party on Friday, August 15, and pre-conference workshops in Cultivation and Mycoremediation offered as day-long sessions on Friday too.

Full event passes are available at

Please email with any questions.


Watch this wonderful video by Mushroom Festival devotee Ken Bailey:

About 2014 Telluride Mushroom Festival Director, Rebecca Fyffe:

Rebecca Fyffe & friend

Rebecca Fyffe & friend

Rebecca is an avid photographer and writer with wide-ranging interests in social justice, anthropology, ethnobotany, the rainforest and indigenous peoples. Professionally, she is a state-certified urban wildlife manager.  Her current projects include leading public health outreach for the Wildlife Control Policy Institute, NFP; developing civil engineering-scale architectural bird control projects for Chicago Wildlife Management and Consulting; and providing strategic direction for ABC Humane Wildlife Control and Prevention, Illinois’ largest nuisance wildlife control firm.

Rebecca has a background in public policy and speech writing and previously worked for the Office of the Governor of Illinois. She also serves as a board member and strategic consultant with a number of organizations.

As a freelance feature journalist, Rebecca has been a columnist for the Chicagoland suburbs’ largest major newspaper, The Daily Herald, where she wrote the column “NatureGirl.” She has also contributed written or photographic works to Organic Gardening Magazine, House and Garden Magazine, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Defender, among other publications.

Rebecca also enjoys broadcast journalism and can be heard as a regular guest on the nationally syndicated radio series, Home Improvement USA. She hosts a monthly hour-long show in which she takes call-ins from listeners on the topic of urban wildlife control. This broadcast can be enjoyed in many major marketplaces across the country, and airs in Chicago on AM1220 on Sundays following Meet the Press.

Rebecca’s hobbies include, documentary filmmaking, beekeeping, hiking, foraging for wild gourmet mushrooms, organic gardening and reading works by her favorite authors, including Stephen Jay Gould, Jane Goodall, Mark Plotkin, Malcolm Gladwell and Dr. Andrew Weil.

Rebecca is also the president of the Illinois Mycological Association, and she curates a monthly lecture series for their 300 active members and the public in Chicago.

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