Get ready for mushroom mania

Josie Barragan, from Morgan Hill, has some fun in the shade with her granddaughter Sophia, 8 months, from San Jose, Sunday during the 33rd Annual Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras.

The Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival, now in its 34th year of turning Memorial Day weekend into a celebration of the mushroom, takes place this weekend.

The two-day festival of family fun will happen Saturday and Sunday, and includes live entertainment on two stages, arts and crafts, gourmet offerings, mushroom educational exhibit, chef demonstrations, strolling musicians, street performers and several city blocks of booths with “finds” that include everything from carved wooden mushrooms to poppy jasper jewelry. Munchkin Land is on track to captivate kids with rides, games and continuous entertainment.

The festival’s star is the humble mushroom, which can be tasted in soup, stuffed, sandwiched, deep-fried, marinated, over rice and more. Local mushroom growers are hosting educational exhibits on how mushrooms grow and the latest nutrition research and the availability of just-picked, locally grown Portabella, Crimini and white mushrooms – the ultimate take-home souvenir.

Wide ranging food choices, such as local barbecue and fruits hand-dipped in chocolate, are available in food booths throughout the festival and in nearby restaurants.

Entertainers will include Evolution, the Journey tribute band; Gilroy resident and former X-Factor competitor Austin Corini; classic rock performer JJ Hawg; local blues band Blue Dog; the Just Picked String Band and Red Glare.

Street performers include the Mama’s Wranglers (formerly Kid Fiddlers), who will roam the town with Jimbo the Clown, Monty the Mushroom, minstrels, jugglers, jesters and a walker.

Shoppers can entertain themselves for hours browsing fine arts, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, home and garden wares and marketplace vendors. Specialty shops and merchants in Morgan Hill’s charming downtown area are only a short walk away.

Admission and parking are free in surrounding parking lots and throughout downtown Morgan Hill.

Details: (408) 778-1786 or go to www.mhmmg.com

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26
Time: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center grounds and Depot Street, between Dunne Avenue and Third Street
Admission: Free
Parking: Free, and available in numerous lots surrounding the festival grounds
Pets: Festival organizers request that bets be left at home, as the hot asphalt can be hard on animals’ feet

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