May 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Love morels?  This weekend is the time to start thinking about taking some road trips (or better yet, long weekends) to partake in some local festivals dedicated to this symbol of spring.  The festivals vary from the schtick to the serious, so take a look at their websites for more information:

Midwest Morel Fest, Ottawa, Illinois, 5/6-5/7:  Activities include guided hunts, competitions, and an auction.  More information.

Mesick Lions 52nd Annual Mushroom Festival, Mesick, Michigan 5/6-5/8:  Mesick calls itself the mushroom capital of the United States, and this morel festival features the usual carnival rides, contests, and food, but for mushroomers, $6 will get you a kit and a treasure map for hunting.  More information.

3rd Annual Stark County Morel Fest, Wyoming, Illinois, 5/7:  Features auctions, cooking demos, and tournaments.  More information.

15th Annual Osseo Heritage Day and Great Mushroom Hunt, Osseo, Michigan, 5/7:  Scout for morels in Lost Nations State Wildlife Area, formerly a hideout for the notorious counterfeiter and horse thief, Sile Doty.  More information. 

Annual Morel Mushroom Festival and Spring Craft Show, Lewiston, Michigan, 5/7:  Featuring guided mushroom hunts, poetry contest and crafts.  More information.

50th Annual National Morel Festival, Boyne City, Michigan, May 12-15:  The mother of all morel festivals.  Festivities include guided mushroom hunts, competitions for the most unusual morel, dinners, and the premiere event, “The Taste Of Morels,” which includes tastings of morel-based dishes at local restaurants.  More information.

29th Annual Morel Mushroom Festival, Muscoda, Wisconsin, 5/14-5/15:  Features morel-based foods, tractor pulls, guided tours, lectures, and contests.  More information.

And for a more civilized treatment of the fungus, consider Black Star Farm’s guided morel hunt and morel dinner (with wine pairings) on 5/10.  More information.