Though last year's rainy, cool spring made for slim pickings among morel hunters, the Brick District's inaugural Morels and Microbrews festival drew large crowds downtown and was considered a hit.
The festival will return 1-5 p.m. April 26, and Brick District Board member Dan Diedriech said that fans of the woodsy caps have nothing to worry about this year in terms of supply.
"What we're hearing is it's been a good year out there," Diedriech said. "We've already got commitments from four or five vendors who do nothing but are professional morel pickers, and it looks like we'll have several hundred pounds of morels, either fresh for people to buy to take home and cook them, or prepared fried, buttered and all that for people who want to eat them there."
The festival will feature many of the attractions that made it popular, such as a children's mushroom hunt at 3 p.m., a "Cute Kid" contest and performances by the Rockatonics. Event coordinator Garry Vaught said in a press release that at least 10 microbrews will be in attendance, and guests can pay a $20 sampling fee to try everything and receive a commemorative cup.
A new feature this year is the Prison Break Mountain Bike Race, sponsored by Ravine Street Bicycle. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. contestants can line up at 251 State Street at Seaman field to ride six laps on a 1.75-mile loop through city trails that Ravine Street Bicycle owner Eric Burks spent the past several months preparing.
Race registration is $10 in advance or $20 the day of the race. Burks described the course as intermediate, and prizes includes sampling passes for the festival and a free set of bike tires, to be awarded during the festival.
Spectators are encouraged, and registration can be done by sending an email with your name, age and T-shirt size to firstname.lastname@example.org.