The 10th Annual Mushroom Festival at the attracted mushroom fans from near and far as people lined up for tours of the mushroom-filled woods behind the nature center, to talk to mushroom collectors from the Connecticut Valley Mycological Society, or to sample a variety of food featuring edible mushrooms.
Candy cap mushroom flavored ice cream was made especially by was a surprise hit at the festival this year. Volunteers were seen serving small cups of the vanilla and maple-like flavored frozen treat to repeat customers.
Darlene Orlando said they were scooping out of the third 2-gallon container since her shift started more than an hour ago.
"We've been very, very busy," she said.
Paul Crowe, of New London, quickly wrapped up a couple cups in aluminum foil to transport to friends who couldn't make it to the festival.
"I read the description and had to try it," he said. "Tasting it only reinforced what I read, it tastes really good."
Steve Turner, owner of in Mystic, said he collected the mushrooms used in the wild mushroom risotto made fresh at the festival. Turner said his suppliers charge $16 to $20 dollars a pound for what he finds abundant in the woods at this time of year.
Jeff Retigan, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, said he just heard of the festival and came because he's a "food fanatic" and planned to try every dish served at the festival.
Other Local eateries served mushroom pizzas, mushroom crepes, stuffed mushroom caps and mushroom tempura. The nature center prepared a mushroom and gorgonzola soup and a mushroom melange, which had mushrooms marinated with peppers and vegetables.