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home : outdoors : outdoors   May 29, 2016

5/5/2014 4:35:00 PM
Mushroom festival winners listed
A bag of fresh morels found by participants in Saturday’s hunt were ready to be returned to their owner after judging was complete.
+ click to enlarge
A bag of fresh morels found by participants in Saturday’s hunt were ready to be returned to their owner after judging was complete.
Josie Mandernach of Aurora places her winning bid during the morel auction as boyfriend Brian Lambert looks on. The couple were newcomers to Ottawa’s Morel Fest and had participated in the morel hunt earlier in the day. “We didn’t find anything in the woods,” Mandernach said. But Lambert said they still had a great day. “It was totally worthwhile,” he said. “Better luck next year.”
+ click to enlarge
Josie Mandernach of Aurora places her winning bid during the morel auction as boyfriend Brian Lambert looks on. The couple were newcomers to Ottawa’s Morel Fest and had participated in the morel hunt earlier in the day. “We didn’t find anything in the woods,” Mandernach said. But Lambert said they still had a great day. “It was totally worthwhile,” he said. “Better luck next year.”
Amy Flanery
Lifestyle Editor



The long winter made for a late start to morel season, according to morel enthusiast Michael Littrell. The season begins in the south and moves north about 100 miles per week, putting Decatur about a week ahead of Ottawa.

“I picked about 60 already this year,” Littrell said. “They started showing up about a week ago and they’re just now starting to pick up.

According to Sarah Mustered, a Morel Fest board member who served as a guide on the hunt, the 200 participants found upwards of 200 morels. The group she led found about 40.

Hunters submitted their finds for judging, and cash prizes totaling $950 were distributed to six winners.

“It is the biggest purse in the United States,” said visitors center director Julie Johnson.

The grand prize of $500 went to the hunter who found the largest morel. A prize of $200 went to the hunter who found the most morels. The first place in the men’s and women’s categories were awarded $75, and second place in each category was awarded $50.

WINNERS names to be announced...


Midwest Morel Fest mushroom hunt results:

Largest Morel, $500, James Lippold, Ottawa

Grand Champion, $200, Randy Dedecker

1 st place, men’s, $75, Bob Wise, Seneca

1 st place, women’s, $75, Agnes Ciezadlo

2 nd place, men’s, $75, Robert Rzepien, Plainfield

2 nd place, women’s, $75, Wendy Reckers, Alpha, Ill.










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