Boyne City, a charming resort town on the shores of Lake Charlevoix in northern Michigan, will host the National Morel Mushroom Festival for the 56th straight year. This year’s festival will be held on May 11 – 15.
And what a festival it will be! For a few days, everything in Boyne City will be all about these elusive delicacies.
Restaurants will prepare morel-laden entrees, craft beer block parties will celebrate them, seminars will teach about them, songsters will sing about them and a championship will give out awards for them.
Did I forget anything? Oh, yeah. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to taste them and see why they draw so many visitors and foragers to our corner of northern Michigan each and every year.
So where can you find them? Well, getting people to share info about their secret spot can be tough. But our sources tell us that locations that are damp is the first key in snooping out the morel. Others things to look for include various dead (or deteriorating) trees, a lot of fallen trees, abandoned orchards, and wildflowers — in this area you will often find morel mushrooms cuddled closely to trillium.
A quick word of caution: morel hunting is not something we recommend you try on your own the first time. False morels are easy to find, but difficult to identify if you are not familiar with them; they are also toxic, so ask someone who has been around the field at least a time or two to make sure you find the real deal — a mouthwatering morel.
Now, back to the festival. There are simply too many events taking place to list them all in this space. You can find complete details at www.bcmorelfestival.com. But here are some of the highlights:
- Wednesday, May 11, 5pm-midnight Open Mic Contest and featured artist at Veteran’s Park. $1,000 in cash prizes.
- Thursday, May 12, 4-8pm Craft Beer Block Party, downtown Boyne City. 20 craft brewers, local restaurants, live music. Admission is $10.
- Friday, May 13, 4:30pm Guided Morel Hunt. Buses depart from Veterans park in Boyne City. Register online for $15.
- Saturday, May 14, 9am National Mushroom Hunt, register 8-9am at 1325 Boyne Ave., Boyne City.
- Saturday, May 14, noon-3pm Taste of Morels — the festival’s premier event. Area restaurants and chefs provide morel-infused delicacies. Beer and wine available.
- Saturday, May 14, 4pm Great Morel Giveaway. Register ahead of time at downtown stores to win morels and/or gift certificates.
- Sunday, May 15, 11am-4pm Craft show showcasing unique handmade items. Veteran’s Park, Boyne City. The craft show will also be taking place on Friday and Saturday.
If you love morels, if you love the thrill of the hunt, or if you just love a fun time in the beauty of northern Michigan, plan to be here. For lodging assistance, call the Visitors Bureau at 800.845.2828 or visit www.PetoskeyArea.com.
About the author
Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.