Whether you wanted to eat mushrooms, buy mushrooms, create mushroom replicas or even get a quick taste of some nice mushroom ice cream, there was something for everyone at the 35th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair, sponsored by the Santa Cruz Fungus Federation.

Two weekends ago on Jan. 10 and 11, this event located at the Louden Nelson Community Center had a realistic exhibit that showcased hundreds of the world’s 40,000 varieties of mushrooms — and that was just the entrance hall.

Video and more after the jump.

But why dedicate a whole two-day event to nothing but mushrooms and other fungi? Mary Lindsay, who has spent four years on the Fungus Fair board of directors, feels that it is because of the various activities that can be associated with mushrooms.

“Edible mushrooms are cuisine and the finding of mushrooms is like a treasure hunt,” Lindsay said.

John Brown, a Fungus Fair member and mushroom fanatic, used to be afraid of wild animals but overcame his fear because of his stronger desire to search for mushrooms. “The most fun [I can have] is being out in the field with people, you know, collecting mushrooms,” Brown said.

So, like all those who have eaten mushrooms know, once you take a bite your life will never be the same again. So join the Fungus Fair at the start of next year for a life-changing event.

Did you know?
– The ancient Egyptians considered mushrooms to be the plant of immortality.
– There are many medical uses of fungi, such as a lung tonic for help with asthma or as an antibiotic for the common cold and flu.
– Without fungus there would be no bread, cheese, beer or wine because of the need for fungus in the fermentation process.

Learn more:
Santa Cruz Fungus Federation

OPERS Mushroom Foraging Course