In Crystal Falls, Michigan, people are proud to celebrate an odd festival which is dedicated to a fungus. You’ve read it right. It isn’t just any other normal fungus because of its extraordinary size. The people call it the Humongous Fungus and with this, they created a festival for it every August.
The Humongous Fungus Festival in Iron County’s Mastodon Township is all about the Armillaria gallica fungus colony. This fungus stretches across 37 acres, weighs in 21,000 lbs., and is around 1,500 years old.
Every year, it produces clusters of small light-brown mushrooms, commonly known as “button mushrooms”; but easily seeing the whole massive fungus itself isn’t possible for a large portion of it lies underground. It could be one of the largest (Oregon’s Armillaria solidipes fungus on the top spot with its 2,200 acre-size) organisms in the world, but if you aim to take a beauty shot of it, you better forget about that. There’s nothing much to see so don’t expect to have a colorful find in the forest.
The fungus was discovered by Myron L. Smith and James B. Anderson, who are both from the University of Toronto. They just unexpectedly came across the “humongous fungus” while doing a research under the US Navy in 1988. Later, the fungus became popular after Michigan Technological University’s research scientist Johann N. Bruhn wrote an article about it in the April 1992 issue of Journal of Nature.
Moving on to the festival itself, the Humongous Fungus Festival is celebrated for three days. Participants of this festival enjoy activities like a Pancake Breakfast, Volleyball and Golf Tournament, Horseshoe Tournament, softball games and a Tube Float down the river. For something to watch, you can have fun at the Fungus Fest Parade and also the firework’s display.
The much-awaited Humongous Pizza in this festival is the world’s largest mushroom pizza at 10 ft. by 10 ft. The pizza’s mushrooms were of course from the huge fungus colony. It’s a mushroom overdose all over this festival!