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Mushroom Festival Committee meets to make plans amid the pandemic
In Muscoda

MUSCODA - The news is out that the village of Muscoda will in fact be hosting their annual Morel Mushroom Festival. The event is planned for one day only this year and is intended to “bridge the gap” between the time of COVID and more normal years to come. 

The Mushroom Festival Committee met last Tuesday, March 2 to discuss the festival activities. 

The committee consists of Village Trustee Allen Blood (absent from this meeting) Village President Dorothy Hackl, Village Trustee Sanford Miller and Linda Post, who was named Chairperson for the committee. Also in attendance were Director of Public Works Troy Wardell, Dave Wiederholt representing the Fire Department, and Police Chief Bill Scramm, as well as Village Clerk Cinda Johnson. 

The group wasted no time getting into the meat of the discussion, covering the festival activities. 

It was shared that the Lions planned to have their still have their chili cook off, the American Legion would have burgers on Friday night and Saturday, the Leos would have their regular food stand, and the Fire Department was planning to also have their yearly steak feed. 

One of the biggest draws, next to the mushrooms of course is the parade. It was shared that the UW Band and Buckey Badger declined to participate this year and that it was unclear if Riverdale School District would as well. 

The committee discussed the idea to spread the word among the students about having the classes have floats in parade, since they were unable to have a homecoming parade this year. As in the past, getting more businesses and others to participate and have floats in the parade has been a challenge. There was also a discussion about offering cash prizes for the best floats. 

After much discussion surrounding timing of the event, it was decided that the parade would have a 3 p.m. start time.   No decisions were made at that time in regards to possibly enforcing social distancing or other pandemic related precautions. It was noted at the previous Special Board Meeting however that organizers would request that parade floats wear gloves while throwing candy. 

The situation with the Tasting Room was a topic of discussion surrounding pandemic procedure. 

Village Clerk Cinda Johnson shared with the committee that Meister Cheese, one of the usual participants in the tasting room informed her that they would be “happy to be outside.” Utilizing a tent to offer samples of their cheese. 

“If we’re going to have something inside, we should have some kind of control at the door,” Committee member Sanford Miller expressed. 

“I think if you’re coming here you’re either mask on or mask off, and I don’t know how to control the door!” expressed a slightly exasperated sounding Dorothy Hackle, who removed her mask and left it off for the remainder of the meeting. 

 It was later noted by Johnson after the meeting that other participants in the tasting room expressed that they would be fine with setting up outdoors and that the final decision on the matter is yet to be determined. 

The bounce houses were also another topic in regards to navigating pandemic protocol. Previously, the village board had decided they did not want to have the bounce houses at the event, however, it was readdressed by the committee. 

“We contacted the guy who does the bounce houses and he said the state only requires them to clean them one time an hour and that’s what they do,” Johnson noted. 

“I wouldn’t let my kid in the bounce house and I’m pretty liberal about the whole thing,” noted Schramm to the committee. 

“I just don’t like the idea of it, putting people in a enclosed area,” Miller echoed. 

“That’s the problem though, (without the bounce houses) there’s nothing to bring people with kids.” Hackle noted. “It’s a personal preference on if they let their kids go in or not.” 

Later it was discussed that the bounce houses could be placed behind the library to avoid needing to use property owned by others like has been done in the past. 

It was also decided that the Kindschi would also be held at the one day event. 

The fireworks were also up for discussion to wrap things up in the evening. Although the committee had not made official contact with the individual who had conducted the fireworks in the past, it was decided that they would continue to attempt to contact him in hopes of having fireworks this year. 

Dave Wiederholt shared that the firemen decided at their most recent meeting that they would indeed have their steak feed. 

“We will set up all of the usual seating and people can take carry outs,” Wiederholt said. “They will be able to scatter around and wait.” 

The theme for the event was also discussed. 

The theme, suggested by Hackle at the previous special board meeting would be Hometown Heroes. 

“I’d like to be able to thank our village hometown heroes,” Said Hackle. “This village stayed open and I know they worked hard at it.” Members of the committee discussed that they felt this theme represented a broad scope of individuals, as everyone came together in an effort to keep the village going during the past year being burdened by a global pandemic. 

Other things discussed by the committee:

•The sponsorship levels will be reworded and reworked to reflect the fiscally hard year many have endured.

•Advertising will be scaled back and based more on budget allotments and grant money.

•Souvenirs will still be available

•The price for the craft show and flea market booths will be reduced. 

•The village will not host a food stand

•There will be no live music

The next meeting of the Morel Mushroom Festival will be March 15 at 5 p.m.