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Mushroom cooking demos & activities for kids at Santa Cruz Fungus Fair

Mushroom latte at a previous Santa Cruz Fungus Fair
Debra Johnson

Mushroom fan alert: the 40th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair is this weekend -- you can watch cooking demos, buy mushroom-related food, see lots of unusual mushrooms, and more. The event is at Louden Nelson Community Center in downtown Santa Cruz. Also—if you’re a mushroom lover, check out the web site for NEXT weekend’s Big Sur Foragers Festival (Jan. 17-19, 2014).

The event began Fri. January 10 and most events are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sat-Sun. January 11-12 .
Enjoy cooking demonstrations, lectures, lots of unique mushrooms on display, and kids’ activities. Plus, there are many mushroom-themed food selections for sale.

The Fungus Fair draws more than 2,000 visitors each year. I went a couple years ago and it was quite enjoyable. A special habitat display area, beautifully arranged, will showcase hundreds of mushroom species commonly found in the Santa Cruz/San Francisco/Monterey Bay area. A Kids Room offers hands-on projects such as clay mushroom building and face painting.

The program schedule includes a Sunday 3-4 p.m. appearance by Jozseph Schultz (founder/chef of restaurant India Joze). He is doing a demo and audience members will get to taste samples. Schultz’s travels include Bali and Turkey, and he is a talented cook and storyteller. He’s authored cookbooks such as “India Joze International Mushroom Cookbook.”

See complete schedule.

The fair is hosted by the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz, a non-profit organization that aims to expand the understanding and appreciation of mycology (study of mushrooms) and to assist the general public, related institutions, and societies to further this goal. Its biggest event is the annual Fungus Fair.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

The Details:
Admission: Sat-Sun - $10 Adults, $5 Seniors & Students, free for kids under 12 

Location: Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center Street (at corner of Laurel) – some street parking available at center; another option is further down Center Street near the police station