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Hawks Prairie Rotary cancels Mushroom Festival after losing Ostrom’s sponsorship

Mushroom fans line up for food samples during the fifth-annual Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Saturday, July 28, 2012.
Mushroom fans line up for food samples during the fifth-annual Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Saturday, July 28, 2012. Staff file, 2012

The Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival, a summertime staple for 10 years near Lacey, has been canceled after Hawks Prairie Rotary, which has run the fest, announced they will scale back and focus on its glow-in-the-dark fun run.

The Mushroom Festival was held during the last weekend in July at the Regional Athletic Complex. The fun run also is set for July 27, according to Terry Taylor, who identified herself as a co-chairperson. The fun run, now in its sixth year, has attracted 400-500 runners, and raises $7,000 to $10,000 per event.

Why make the change? Taylor said Ostrom's Mushroom Farm wasn't going to sponsor the festival this year and Hawks Prairie Rotary was unable to make up the difference with other sponsors, she said.

The Olympian could not reach Ostrom's President David Knudsen on Thursday.

Corey Lopardi, a Hawks Prairie Rotary member who was involved with the festival from 2011 to 2016, said the festival was operating on less lodging tax money from the city of Lacey. At one time, the festival received $25,000 from the city, but it had recently dropped to $20,000, he said.

City data show the festival received $20,000 last year and was going to receive $20,000 this year.

The festival was encouraged to become more of a self-sustaining operation, Lopardi said.

Over its 10-year run, Lopardi and Taylor said it raised about $200,000, or about $20,000 a year. Hawks Prairie Rotary then donated proceeds to such things as a Homeless Backpack program and a scholarship program called Hawks Prairie Heroes. Lopardi said Hawks Prairie Rotary will continue to support those organizations.

About 10,000 people a year attended the Mushroom Festival, with about a third coming from outside the area, Lopardi said.

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