Morel Mushroom Festival to be held at Catalpa Grove

The Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival will be having their 9th annual event on Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Catalpa Grove Tavern located one mile east of Toulon at 7935 State Route 17. The event will feature a variety of vendors ranging from The Gawdy Shoppe, Pampered Chef, Pink Zebra, Don Dodge (morel mushroom art), A-Z Crafts, Dean’s Woodcrafts, and Renewal by Anderson. The Stark County JFL will be cooking pork chops and the Catalpa Grove staff will be cooking as well. The organizers are expecting more vendors as the date nears.

The SCMMF was established in 2009 and was formed through an alliance between Duke Frisby and Stark County Economic Development to bring a new event to Wyoming and establish a fun-filled family activity that would aid in supporting organizations in the Stark County area. Thousands of Morel enthusiasts from nearly every state have participated in the festival since its inception. The 2017 Morel Mushroom Festival was moved from Wyoming to Catalpa Grove as a way to get more participation and allow a more diverse crowd to participate. The festival will donate a portion of the proceeds to a local organization to help in the goal of supporting Stark County youth.

Catalpa Grove Tavern has been a Stark County business since 1942 and has undergone numerous changes in the last few years. The tavern’s main building has been extended to twice its original size to accommodate more customers. A modern kitchen has been added which allows the business to cook a variety of food. An outdoor bandstand has been added to a partially enclosed pavilion where bands perform and will be used for the morel auction. A four-stall garage in the back of the tavern serves as an extra bar and seating where there is also another cooking area.

To the west of these three buildings is a near acre-size lot which will be used for the vendors. The Rock Island Trail, which runs from Toulon to Alta, runs along the back of the property and is a walking and biking trail. It crosses the Spoon River and allows for fishing and mushrooming on its right-of-way. The Grove, as it is known by locals, has ample parking around the facility as well as the parking lot for hikers and bikers just a quarter of a mile to the west.

The “Fred Howard Memorial Morel Mushroom Auction” will be at 2 p.m. with bidders and sellers being able to register starting at 11 a.m. Sellers should be registered by 1 p.m. Anyone who plans on selling Morels and is not registered by 1 p.m. will be allowed to sell, but will be placed at the end of the line. A drawing will take place at 1 p.m. for selling order in the auction. Each person registered to sell Morels will be allowed to sell eight clear bags of Morels at a time with each bag weighing a minimum of eight ounces. Those with more than eight bags will be able to sell the rest of their Morels in subsequent rounds at the same rate and weight.

All morels should be cleaned, but not washed or sliced. Whole Morels are preferred and admittance in the event is at the Event Chairman’s discretion. A 10% fee will be charged to sellers to cover the cost of the auction.

Bidders should bring some form of identification and cash. All bidders, who win the bid, are allowed to take one bag or up to eight bags. The remaining lot will be offered to other buyers or re-auctioned if there are no takers. No private selling or buying will be allowed. To keep order and to make the auction go as smooth as possible, all bidders are requested to wait until the end of the auction to pay for their Morels.

For more information about the festival contact Duke Frisby at 309-883-3057; Facebook: Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival; email: [email protected] or stop in to see Duke in person at Jak’s Gaming Café, 214 S. Main St., Kewanee, IL.

Join the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival for lots of fun, food and mushroom soup make this the best festival yet.

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