The 56th Annual National Morel Mushroom Festival is held May 12-15 with most events centered around Veterans Park on the waterfront in Boyne City. Carnival rides and a craft show are held daily. Visit morelfest.com for the complete schedule and advance registration for the various events. Some of the highlights are:
> A Craft Beer Block Party with 20 craft brewers, food trucks and live music from Detroit’s Thornetta Davis Band from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 12. This event is held in the100 block of South Lake Street in downtown Boyne City, or in the festival tent in case of rain.
> The Wine & Dine gourmet dinner with five hors d’oeuvres paired with five wines in two seatings on Friday at the Beach House restaurant on Deer Lake.
> A free seminar on how to find morels in the woods, led by former mushroom hunting champion Tony Williams at 4 p.m. Friday in the Festival Tent. This is followed immediately by
> A Guided Morel Hunt where buses and morel guides take you out to the woods where you’re likely to find mushrooms. Registration is $15 per person.
> The National Mushroom Hunt, a competition that starts with a bus ride at 9 a.m. Saturday. Hunters get 90 minutes to find morels in the woods and winners in various categories are announced at 2:30 p.m. in festival tent.
> The Taste of Morels at noon Saturday includes a dozen area restaurants and caterers who provide morel-infused delicacies. It’s $2 admission, then choose your morel hors d’oeuvres for $2 to $4 each. Beer and wine are also available. No advance registration for this event.
> Live music and dancing is featured in the tent featuring two of Northern Northern Michigan’s best bands, The Cookies on Friday and Scarkazm on Saturday, from 8:30 p.m. to midnight in the festival tent. $5 admission at the door. Beer & wine available.