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Mushrooms get their parade in Telluride

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins

The 39th annual Telluride Mushroom Festival brought together mushroom enthusiasts from all around the world to celebrate fungi in all its forms. While mycologists gather regularly in various settings—for academic conferences, local mycological society meetings, and hunting hikes known as forays—Telluride was the first major place to offer an open forum for discussion about psychedelic mushrooms along with their more prosaic culinary and medicinal counterparts.

The earliest birds would amble through the trees around Telluride, collecting fat King Boletes (known as Porcini elsewhere), scaley Hawk’s Wings, and golden yellow Chanterelles.

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins

Peter Hendricks, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama, discussed his study on psilocybin’s potential for curbing cocaine addiction.

Giuliana Furci, the first female mycologist in Chile and the founder of its Fundación Fungi, gave a keynote about her vision for a global curriculum that would teach children about Kingdom Fungi.

Long Litt Woon, an author and anthropologist who had a reading, knows what it’s like to become “mushroom mad,” as she describes it. After her husband died suddenly, long sought solace and eventually found a new sense of purpose in the Norwegian mushroom community. She became a certified mushroom inspector and eventually vice president of the Oslo Mushroom Society. Her memoir, The Way Through the Woods: On Mushrooms and Mourning, also serves as a beginner’s guide to mushroom culture. She explains, “You learn something about nature…you look at your environment with new eyes.”

The festival's VIP dinner was a golden chanterelle course prepared by Chef Graham Steinruck—also a certified inspector of wild mushrooms. Dinner was served alongside medicinal mushroom beers, made by Telluride Brewing Co. in collaboration with Tradd and Olga Cotter.

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins

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