The crowds got on their feet to dance, sing along and take photos May 28 as the Mitchell James Band hit the stage at the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

The 41st Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras took over the city’s downtown for the holiday weekend, bringing patrons and visitors all the arts and crafts, food vendors and live entertainment they missed from the festival’s cancellations due to Covid-19 in recent years.

The Mushroom Mardi Gras—a nonprofit-run festival that raises funds for high school students and local organizations—was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and related restrictions on public gatherings. Even though the event returned Memorial Day weekend 2022 for the first time since the pandemic started, MMG Executive Director Sunday Minnich said it was not without “challenges.”

“Despite the challenges this year due to safety concerns, cancellations due to Covid, internal organizational changes, higher costs, lack of resources and volunteer shortages, we were determined to have our festival which was one of our most successful,” Minnich said May 31. “It was obvious people were ready to get out and enjoy life again and seeing everyone having a great time was well worth the challenges.”

Unfortunately, Covid continues to cast its shadow on events. The Mushroom Mardi Gras vendor who usually runs the festival’s Munchkinland kids’ area had to cancel just two days before this year’s event, which took place May 28 and 29. Minnich said this was the first time the Mardi Gras occurred without a kids’ area.

The Mushroom Mardi Gras typically draws tens of thousands of visitors and residents to Morgan Hill. The festival has raised more than $1 million for scholarships for local college-bound high school students and more than $542,000 to nonprofits since it was founded. It has also given away more than $64,000 in mini-grants to local organizations since the Mushroom Mardi Gras started its mini-grant program nine years ago.

The Mitchell James Band delivered their brand of country music on the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras main stage (Downtown Amphitheater) May 28. Photo: Tarmo Hannula
Thenna Abigail Sotelo uses chalk to create a large sidewalk mural May 28 at the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras. Photo: Tarmo Hannula
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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.


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