As April heads into May, mighty hunters will head to the woods here in northern Michigan.
No guns will be carried, no licenses required – these hunters will be stalking the elusive morel mushroom.
Morel mushrooms are such a big thing here, that in Boyne City they hold the National Morel Mushroom Festival. This is the 54th year for the festival and the nearby woods and clearings will be the destination of hundreds of morel enthusiasts in search of the rare mushrooms that many believe are a gourmet treat.
These edible delights appear in forests though are generally hard to spot for a novice. If you’re new to the hunt, make sure to go with someone knowledgeable; there are “false” morels and they’ll make you very sick if consumed.
During the mushroom festival, you can take part in a Morel Seminar featuring local morel expert, Anthony Williams. A Guided Hunt is also offered as part of the festival and is good way to pick up tips and tricks.
During the festival, it’s all about the mushrooms. Area restaurants will be preparing exotic, morel-laden entrees; there will be a Friday night Morelfest “Wine and Dine,” and on Saturday the 17th, a morel breakfast and the Taste of Morels event will be held from noon until 3pm — it’s the largest concentration of morel cooking in the world. When you’re not hunting morels, enjoy a craft show, live bands and an amusement carnival.
A wide variety of lodging for festival goers and hunters is available in the Boyne City/Boyne Falls area and within a 20-minute drive in surrounding communities. A good year can yield thousands of mouth-watering morels. But, while there is no guarantee as to how many you’ll take home, the festival is guaranteed fun for everyone.