CEDAR RAPIDS – It was nearly a clean sweep in the morel contest during this year’s Houby Days, a three-day festival that celebrates the springtime mushroom and the city’s Czech heritage.
Mike Haugsted of Cedar Rapids won the largest, smallest and best mushroom displays in the annual contest. Brody Driscoll of Hiawatha broke Haugsted’s streak by winning the most unusual category.
With a particularly late morel season in Iowa, it appeared that mushrooms on the small side were in abundance, but the large-sized morels – only one was entered in the contest – may be scarce this year. The winner looked several inches shorter than the nearly foot-long morels of past years.
Houby Days 2018 also featured live music, food, a carnival, parade, street vendors, crowning of the Czech Royal Court and more.
While last year’s festival was dampened by cold and wet weather, most of this year’s Houby Days was warm and pleasant until Sunday, when temperatures dropped, but the rain mostly stayed at bay.
Czech Village serves as the host of Houby Days, centered along 16th Avenue SW, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library also hosting several events during the festival.
View images of morel mushrooms and other photos from the 2017 Houby Days and more from this year’s festival, below. (photos © Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan)