Find, prepare and eat wild foods during Nature Wonder Weekend Sept. 19-21, 2014, at North Bend State ParkCAIRO, West Virginia – Forty-seven years and still wildly popular is Nature Wonder Weekend at North Bend State Park. This year's event is set for Sept. 19-21. The late nature author Euell Gibbons initiated an interest in wild food, turning dandelions and paw paws into gourmet delicacies. The event, North America's premier and longest-running wild foods event, begins Friday evening and concludes Sunday afternoon. It includes speakers, presentations, nature walks, and collection and preparation of wild foods.
"This year's event has a focus on mushrooms," said organizer Emily Fleming. "Gary Lincoff of New York City is the featured speaker with the assistance of members of the West Virginia Mushroom Club."
Lincoff has led mushroom study trips and forays worldwide and is a featured "Myco-visionary" in the award-winning documentary "Know Your Mushrooms." Lincoff is also the author of the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.
The weekend activities include a park tour, dinner, presentations, the Hazel Wood National Wild Food Cooking Contest and the Bill Faust Wild Cake Contest. The Wild Drink Contest winner is awarded the honorary Maxine Scarbro Friendship Cup.
"Many guests return year after year for Nature Wonder Weekend, Fleming said. "Individuals attending for the first time are always amazed at the types of wild foods often overlooked as well as the presentations and the afternoon wild food social hour. Mushrooms and other edibles are always fascinating to learn about and to learn how to prepare."
The weekend offers overnight packages as well as day-only attendance options. The individual cost is $169 when two people share a room. This rate includes five meals, all activities and programs. Other rates are available for single occupancy room, cabins, and fees for only the activities. To register, please contact Wendy Greene at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at 304-558-2754 or email Wendy.L.Greene@wv.gov. Reservation forms and additional information also are available online at the Event Calendar listings at www.northbendsp.com. Overnight options include lodge rooms, cabins or camping sites. Please specify your preference during registration.
Although wild foods are featured throughout the weekend, five conventional meals will be provided by the North Bend Lodge Restaurant.
Nature Wonder Weekend Schedule
Registration begins at the North Bend State Park Lodge Friday, Sept. 19, from 2 to 8 p.m. A park tour is scheduled at 3 p.m. and a buffet dinner is at 6:30 p.m. A Wild Foods Cooking Contest will be held that evening, including prizes for best wild food cooks, best wild cake and best wild drink.
After Saturday breakfast, small groups will take guided hikes in search of edible wild foods. Following lunch, the groups will prepare wild foods for the social hour that evening. A buffet dinner is available in the lodge restaurant Saturday evening.
Sunday will include a morning worship service and a wild foods workshop.