The Fest that Fell

Texas Mushroom Festival would have held annual gathering on Saturday, if not for virus

Posted 10/13/20

In normal times, citizens of Madisonville would now be gearing up for the city’s annual Texas Mushroom Festival, which was originally scheduled to take place Saturday before it was canceled in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Fest that Fell

Texas Mushroom Festival would have held annual gathering on Saturday, if not for virus

Posted

In normal times, citizens of Madisonville would now be gearing up for the city’s annual Texas Mushroom Festival, which was originally scheduled to take place Saturday before it was canceled in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have already started to see the impact of the cancelation within the community,” said Laura Lawrenz, Director of Marketing and Tourism for Madisonville. “What is usually a festive time in our town now has an air of sadness about it. The economic impact will hit us hard, too — the revenue for Madison County will be missed.”

The impact of its cancelation, however, goes beyond the city limits of Madisonville or citizens in the county. The Mushroom Festival has offered a chance to expose Madisonville to visitors across the state and country.

“The festival is a great time for the community to come together and socialize with old friends and new,” said Lawrenz. “People come from all over the United States to visit Madisonville for the Mushroom Festival. We have been receiving calls for the past several weeks from out-of-towners asking about it. They are genuinely saddened by the news it has been canceled. I have heard many stories from callers about how long they have been attending and how the festival has become a family tradition.”

When the event was first canceled in July, festival president Jill Barnes explained the decision in detail.

“Without sponsors, there is, of course, no festival,” said Barnes in July. “Once the new year starts, that is what we are doing. Our committee chairmen will then get together to start talking with vendors, we start designing the shirts, calling wineries and getting in touch with beer distributors. Really, anybody we work with. If we do not have a set plan by the summer, it becomes a problem because it takes that long to put everything into place.”

By the time the festival was canceled in early July, the committee would have typically had a realistic idea of those involved and how much sponsorship money they would receive in normal times. But with the COVID-19 pandemic taking centerstage in early spring, Barnes stated the committee lacked necessary sponsors to properly move forward with the 2020 edition.

“We really did not have a choice,” said Barnes in July. “We do not have enough things in place to continue and we do not have the sponsorships necessary to continue because (the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine) has hit all of our communities and small business so hard. We get the majority of our sponsorship money from our small businesses.”

In the committee’s July press release announcing the cancelation, Barnes stated their intentions to continue planning for the 2021 festival in order to make it even better.

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