Mushroom fest gets national attention

Kathi Lafferty is amused when people tell her that New Jersey residents would not be interested in Kennett Square’s annual Mushroom Festival. “I have people who come from Nevada,” says Lafferty, the festival coordinator. A man from Washington state called her to ask which airport he should fly into.

The event, scheduled this year for Sept. 8-9, has received national attention on the Food Network and in Bon Appetite magazine. A crowd of more than 100,000 is expected to attend the festival this year.

Vendors are also clamoring to participate. Spaces were sold out as of June. This year, Herr’s will make a mushroom-flavored potato chip and a vendor will sell portabella fries. As usual, Woodside Farm Creamery will serve up mushroom-flavored ice cream. Lafferty, who owns The Mushroom Cap on West State Street, will sell white truffle-parmesan popcorn.

In the tented area at 600 S. Broad St., the festival on Friday will again hold a teen dance. An antiques show and auction will take place there on Saturday, and that night is the dance party. On Sunday, the soup and wine event moves into the tent.

The logistics would unnerve most event planners. Not Lafferty, who became the coordinator in 2003, “We’ve got it all figured out.”

This year, there is a $2 admission fee for a wristband, which is available in advance at participating area vendors. She hopes people will ante up for the wristband. “Is it too much to ask for $2 for everyone to come in and have a good time?” she says. “If we had to pay a full-time executive director, there would be no money left at all.”

Lafferty says 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward the grant fund, which in the past has benefited such nonprofit organizations as Canine Partners for Life, the Spanish Health Ministry and the Kennett Symphony.

“In the last six years, we’ve raised $175,000,” she says proudly.

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delawarebusinessledgerPam George
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Business Ledger Staff Writer

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