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Telluride Mushroom Festival Kicks Off Thursday

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The Telluride Institute's annual Mushroom Festival starts Thursday, spreading an appreciation for all things fungi. 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the gathering, which includes activities such as mushroom forays, culinary lessons, and lectures on a variety of topics, including "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: A Taxonomic and Historical Voyage."

Attendees will learn from experts how to forage, find, and feast on fungi in what has been termed "Joyfully Informed Shrooming."

Bill Nevins, an advocate of the festival, describes the gathering as:

Ever felt like ingesting a temptingly intriguing bit of colorful wild mushroom, but then thought better of it and hesitated? What might happen? Did your head suddenly fill up with that old Jefferson Airplane feed-your-head chorus and cautionary visions of Alice in Wonderland with her hookah- smoking caterpillar? ...Or have you pondered just what role the many sorts and sizes of mushrooms actually play in our natural ecology-just hangers on or active contributors? Just how much do we really know about these mysterious hidden living fungal denizens of the woods? And how can one safely find out more? Well, the 29th Annual Telluride, Colorado Mushroom Festival, this coming August 27-30, 2009 is your golden opportunity to improve your knowledge on the subject. And, better educated, perchance to indulge both your curiosity and your taste buds. Maybe even your spiritual impulses.

Regardless of your interest in mushrooms, if you're in the area, make sure to attend the costume parade at 5:30 on Sunday for very entertaining people watching.

Admission costs $125 to $150.

Video from the 2007 parade: