CONTACT: Kathi Lafferty, Festival Coordinator, 610-637-4273 or Avery Eaton, Mushroom Festival Office Manager, 302-750-2216 Email:

35th annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival is canceled for 2020

KENNETT SQUARE, PA., APRIL 15, 2020 — For the first time in its history, the annual
Kennett Square Mushroom Festival — scheduled this year for Sept. 12-13, 2020 — is
canceled, due to increasing safety concerns expressed by its Board of Directors in the
wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board’s decision to cancel this year’s festival dovetails with the global cancellation
of nearly all large-scale, highly-attended events of its kind around the world. Locally,
however, Volunteer Executive Director Kathi Lafferty said that the decision to cancel this
year’s festival also stemmed from the financial impact the virus is having on the local
mushroom industry.
“The mushroom industry has been hurt significantly, so it was very difficult for us to ask
for sponsor money from our friends in the industry,” Lafferty said. “We’ve also found out
that the typical events that our vendors participate in have also been cancelled, so
although it was difficult, we came to the decision out of an abundance of caution for
everyone’s health and safety — to just come back even stronger next year.”
The festival, which was to celebrate its 35th year in 2020, began in 1986 when a small
group of mushroom enthusiasts wished to hold a public event to celebrate the impact of
mushroom growing and mushroom product distribution in Kennett Square, which has
long been known as “The Mushroom Capital of the World.” From those beginnings –
which encompassed a two-block distance, the Mushroom Festival has grown to a mile-
long venue that draws an average of 100,000 visitors to Kennett Square on the weekend
after Labor Day in September, as well as a full line-up of events, exhibits, contests,
children’s entertainment and more than 250 vendors.
Facilitated by its volunteer organizing committee, and using Lafferty’s quote “In order to
make money, we must give money away,” the Mushroom Festival has donated more than
$1 million of its proceeds since 2000 to a wide variety of charities and organizations that
benefit the residents of Kennett Square and surrounding communities through a grant

Despite the cancelation of its 2020 event, the impact of the Mushroom Festival will
continue to be strong in the community this year. The festival’s Board of Directors have
announced that $25,000 in grants raised from the proceeds of the 2019 festival will be
disbursed throughout the Kennett Square community to help fund the efforts of those
individuals and organizations who are assisting with the coronavirus pandemic.
Contributions will also be made to local fire companies, first responders and food
distribution charities.
In addition, the festival is considering a Soup and Wine event in the fall and sponsoring
Midnight in the Square – New Year’s Eve Mushroom Drop on December 31st.

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35th Annual Mushroom Festival is Cancelled