Chefs Ian and Bruce Porter flame up some giant skillets of shrimp and mushroom scampi Saturday, May 25 at the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras.

The 43rd Morgan Hill Mushroom Festival, formerly known as Mushroom Mardi Gras, will take place May 25-26 in the city’s downtown, organizers announced on Jan. 25. 

The board of directors of Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras, Inc.—the organization that runs the festival—was “excited” this week to announce they have received approval from the City of Morgan Hill and the Morgan Hill Police Department to move forward with the event, says the press release from MHMMG. 

Last year’s attempt to hold the popular local event was nixed after a security contractor hired by the festival terminated their agreement with organizers. Instead, MHMMG hosted a concert fundraiser, known as the Morgan Hill Mushroom Benefit Concert, that raised enough money to provide $10,000 in scholarships this year for local students. 

The Mushroom Festival was also canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to concerns related to the pandemic, but it returned to its downtown Morgan Hill location—centering around the Community and Cultural Center—in 2022. 

This year, MHMMG Board President Dan Keith and Director Sunday Minnich began planning early with city officials, city staff and MHPD “to guarantee this year’s festival will take place,” says the press release. The organization has also been working closely with its newly hired security company, Interpol Private Security, to proceed with planning for the May 25-26 event. 

“The main focus of MHMMG is to provide a fun and entertaining family festival to raise money to award scholarships to high school seniors living within the boundaries of the Morgan Hill Unified School District,” says the press release.  

Scholarships are typically based on the net revenue of the previous year’s festival, organizers said. The proceeds from the 2023 Benefit Concert largely came from sponsors who had pledged to support the Mushroom Festival before it was canceled. 

MHMMG this year also plans to continue to donate funds and support to school groups and clubs, youth sports and nonprofit organizations that work at the festival, says the press release. 

Over the last 42-plus years, the festival has awarded about $1.5 million in scholarships and more than $550,000 to local nonprofits, school groups and youth sports. 

Visitors to this year’s festival will enjoy shopping at more than 145 arts and crafts and retail booths; gourmet food vendors, many producing mushroom inspired dishes; beer and wine gardens; live music performances on two stages, including the CCC amphitheater; chef demonstrations; a mushroom expo; and strolling entertainment. 

The festival’s Mushroom Exhibition will offer chef demonstrations, vendors and educational exhibits focusing on the fungi that have made Morgan Hill the Mushroom Capital of the Western U.S., says the press release. 

This year’s entertainment lineup includes “Hotel California, Eagles Original Tribute Band” as well as San Francisco dance and party band “The Party Starters.” 

“We will also have an acoustic stage to sit back and relax to the smooth sounds of local and regional artists, while sipping on a variety of craft beers and wines,” says the press release. 

As a nonprofit organization, MHMMG is seeking support from local businesses and residents who are willing to make monetary donations and pay for sponsorships. Donations are tax deductible and help support fundraising efforts for education in the community, says the press release. 

Anyone interested in donating to the MHMMG scholarship fund or becoming a marketing partner can call the organization at 408.778.1786 or email [email protected]

Hours of the May 25-26 festival are 10am-7pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday. General admission costs $15 per person in advance (with a discount coupon) and $20 at the gate. Kids younger than 12 are free. Tickets will go on sale in February. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

3 COMMENTS

  1. In the past, this has been an open street festival and, as such, there was no way they could charge admission since people could enter from basically anywhere. Have they now moved the location of the festival to a park or something? If not, then HOW are they going to get away with charging admission when people can freely walk in from multiple locations? Are they going to put up some sort of barriers on the streets and also hire guards to watch the sidewalks, to make sure that no one enters without going through an official gate and paying? It makes no sense to me.

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  2. So a family of 4 would pay $80 dollars to get in (not sure if your charging for parking too) and not have that money to spend at the show. You are eliminating too many people As a vender, please up your cost to us, and not the public. Why so much? This was my best sales show the year before last, but $20 per person will definitely limit how many people attend (including venders) Worried,,,,,,

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