Like all public events finding a way to go forward despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sicamous Fungi Fest will have a very different look for 2020.
The festival, which has been celebrating B.C.’s wild mushrooms and educating the public about them for 15 years, will run on Sept. 18 to 20. Organizer Deb Heap said circumstances have never halted the festival, except when its creator Peter Steiner passed away in 2015.
Heap said the festival is going forward with a plan in place to promote physical distancing. Only those who bought tickets in advance will be allowed into the venue, upstairs at the Sicamous Legion, in order to keep the number of people in the building under 50.
Groups for the guided walks looking for wild mushrooms will also be smaller this year so people will be able to spread out. Heap said mushroom-themed food will still be on sale but cooking demonstrations won’t be held because staying distanced for them would be difficult. Masks will be required where physical distancing is not possible.
One of the features of the festival that brings attendees back is the expert mycologists sharing their knowledge.
Heap said Paul Kroeger from Vancouver will still be attending but American mushroom specialists who usually come for the event will not be. She said Larry Evans, one of the Americans who usually attends, may videoconference in for a panel discussion.
Beer gardens and live music, which have been features of the festival in years gone by, will not be happening this year.
Heap said she expects those in attendance will be more local this year as the pandemic has made travel more challenging.