The sixth annual Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival takes over the Regional Athletic Complex off Steilacoom Road in Lacey this weekend, only this year it kicks off early, on Friday night.
A Mushroom & Wine kickoff is Friday night at Harmony Hall at the Washington Land Yacht Harbor, 9101 Steilacoom Road SE. The event runs 6-9 p.m. and costs $25 for 7 wine tastes plus admission to the overall festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday.
The festival has been trying to grow, and while we are not quite ready to have three full days of the festival, we were looking for ways to start it off the evening before, event co-chair Corey Lopardi said. The weekend-long event attracts upwards of 10,000 people looking to learn about mushrooms, enjoy mushroom cuisine, and meet a few local and celebrity chefs, including YouTube chef Jimbo Jitsu.
Additionally, there are nine culinary options during the annual Shroom Feast with dishes from Red Wind Casino, Ricardo's, Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel, and the Hawks Prairie Rotary. The entire festival generates about two-thirds of the Hawks Prairie Rotarys $40,000 used for scholarships and community service projects on behalf of nonprofits such as the Boys & Girls Clubs. To help increase interest among attendees, Lopardi said they decided to add a 5K run to the festival. Along with the wine event, we are always looking for people to come and stay and go to the festival the next day, Lopardi said. The race, dubbed the Grow in the Dark 5K, starts at 9 p.m. Saturday. Participants will be outfitted with glow-in-the-dark T-shirts with bracelets and necklaces available for purchase. Its a trend that has grown popular in other jurisdictions, Lopardi said. Its picking up momentum in other areas, so I thought we could do them here, Lopardi said.
The Sounders Women soccer team also will make an appearance from noon-3 p.m. Sunday to sign autographs and give away collapsible water bottles to children, while supplies last.
Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476