Mushroom gala planning

Chamber of Commerce has plans for a new breed of festival

  • Oct. 6, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Trisha Shanks

Arrow Lakes News

The Nakusp Music Festival may be a thing of the past, but the Chamber of Commerce has plans for a new breed of festival — one with a plentiful natural resource at its centre.  Mushrooms bring many people to the area at this time of year, and the local powers that be are hoping to increase tourist and visitor traffic by creating an annual celebration in their honour.

Beginning at the farmerss market on October 4, wild mushrooms will be front and centre.  Vendors will be there selling the region’s indigenous mushrooms in addition to prepared dishes featuring fresh varieties such as Chanterelle, Lobster and Pine.  Organizers are anticipating that this exciting new offering will bring out the crowds.

“We hope to inject some life into the fall shoulder season with this emphasis on the rich resource of edible wild mushrooms in our region,” says Craig Savage, Event Coordinator with the Chamber of Commerce.

In the spring of 2014, the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives accepted a bid from the Nakusp Chamber to fund the position of an Events Coordinator for an additional year, with part of the mandate being the creation of two new events, one for fall and one for spring.

Savage talks about how the idea originated this summer, during a Chamber subcommittee meeting to chart the future of those new events.

“The idea we came up with was a mushroom festival for this fall.  This year’s event is a small start for a much larger vision — to raise awareness and build momentum for a full-fledged festival in 2015.”

As a preview of what’s to come, on the evening of October 4 the Chamber will be hosting the Mushroom Gala Dinner at CMH K2 Rotor Lodge.  With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, wild local mushrooms will be featured throughout the meal.  The cocktail and appetizer reception starts at 5 p.m. with a three course dinner  beginning at 6 p.m..

Guests will be treated to a presentation on the future of the Mushroom Festival including highlights of the full version and the plans to have it ready for the 2015 season.  Currently, the working title is the “Kootenay Mushrooms and More Festival.”  The “and more” refers to other non-timber products from West Kootenay forests.  Plans include mushroom tours and presentations and a marketplace with vendors of other handcrafted items from around the Kootenays — something like what the Garlic Festival has evolved to become.

“This event has great potential to be something that builds momentum year to year and attracts people to Nakusp.  It takes time to build the foundation for a brand new festival, but much of that work has been done,” adds Savage.

Barbara Ross, Director of the Chamber of Commerce is excited about the opportunity this creates.

“It’s up to the Chamber to try and promote the area.  We’re looking at building the market and that can lead to other opportunities for this wonderful valley as a vacation destination.”

Vendor agreements, a site map and a database of potential vendors are in the works for Mushroom Fest 2015.

Tickets for the Mushroom Gala Dinner are available at