Come to Santa Cruz and explore “The Secret Life of Mushrooms”! Learn interesting and fun facts about the hundreds of beautiful and fascinating species of mushrooms found in the Santa Cruz/Monterey and Bay Area. Fungi will be beautifully displayed in a re-created woodland habitat. This unique Santa Cruz tradition features three days of fantastic fun, informative speakers and demonstrations, with fungal activities for the whole family.
The Fungus Fair is held each year in January in Santa Cruz at the Louden Nelson Community Center.
This three day event features hundreds of species of local fungi presented in a unique fashion, and draws thousands of visitors each year. The Fair showcases speakers, cooking demonstrations, a special Kids' Room, and a taxonomy panel for identification of fungi. Many books and mushroom-related items are available for sale, as are wild mushroom delicacies.
Dr. Thomas Volk
Stephanie Jarvis M. Sc
Did you know that without fungus, we’d have no bread, cheese, beer, or wine? Or that anti-cholesterol medicine was developed from mushrooms? Come to the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair to learn all there is to know about the fascinating world of mushrooms.
This unique Santa Cruz tradition features fantastic fungus fun for the whole family. Bring the kids and stroll through a re-created woodland forest displaying hundreds of wild mushrooms; the Fungus Fair also features a special room full of hands-on activities for the kids, including fungus exploration tables, clay mushroom building, face painting, and more!
Friday, January 8: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
After-hours event 6pm - 9pm
Saturday, January 9: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday, January 10: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Louden Nelson Community Center
Map & Directions
Friday admission - $5
Saturday / Sunday admission - $10
Students & Seniors (60+) - $5
Kids under 12 - free
FFSC mushroom experts will be available throughout the fair to identify the mushrooms you’ve found. Bring yours, ideally stored in a paper bag rather than plastic. Paper allows fungi to "breathe" and keeps them fresher!
Nationally and locally renowned speakers will present talks on a wide variety of topics, including cooking demonstrations with wine pairings, in the Main Lecture Room (Room 3) and the Mushrooms 101 Room (Room 1). See Program Schedule for details.
The habitat display area will present hundreds of mushroom species commonly found in the Santa Cruz/San Francisco/Monterey Bay area.
Visit the Kid's Room for mushroom activities such as clay sculpture, water colors, face painting, mushroom art and making mushroom dyed fabric. Peruse the fungus exploration area and look at spores through a microscope. Note to parents: the Kid's Room is only open on Saturday and Sunday.
Throughout the three day event, Fungus Fair attendees be able to learn more about local mushrooms, view remarkable mushroom arts and crafts, taste unusual and exceptionally good fungal fare, and be a part of the FFSC’s overriding mission – “We Keep the Fun in Fungi!”