By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - Crystal Falls will host the annual Humungus Fungus Fest this weekend.
The festival celebrates the 1,500-year-old, 100-ton Armillaria fungus that covers approximately 37 acres in nearby Mastodon Township, near the Wisconsin border.
The fungus is mostly located underground, with the exception of small mushrooms that come out during the fall.
"People are generally disappointed if they actually go to the site looking for the big mushroom," according to the Humungus Fungus page on the city of Crystal Falls website.
Back in the early 1990s, researchers Myron Smith, James Anderson, and Johann Bruhn discovered the giant fungus when they determined that the mushrooms shared genetic material and were in fact one organism.
Crystal Falls has been holding the "Fungus Fest" ever since.
This year's activities kicked off on Wednesday with a teen talent contest.
Today, there will be a teen softball game at Runkle Lake Park at 6:30 p.m.
Friday morning events start with a youth golf outing at the Crystal View Golf Course at 9 a.m.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., sidewalk sales will take over the downtown area.
Forest Park Academic Boosters will be selling pasties at the United Lutheran Church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
St. Mark's Church will host a salad luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Afternoon activities include the Mushroom Cook-off at the Harbour House from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and a cribbage tournament at the Crystal Falls Senior Center at 1:30 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the ball race down Superior Avenue begins. Then, at 5:30 p.m., the Mushroom Pride Parade will travel down Superior Avenue.
The fun on Friday wraps up with women's and men's softball at Runkle Lake Park at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, sidewalk sales will continue from 9 a.m. to noon.
Christ United Methodist Church will hold a pie social from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Activities throughout the day at Runkle Lake Park include volleyball at 11 a.m., live music from Mid-Night Storm from noon to 6 p.m., buckboards and horseshoes at 1 p.m., and the Runkle Lake Park Dance with music from Lock N Load at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, Tony Rocker will bring his Elvis stage show to the Crystal Theatre at 6 p.m.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.