Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds navigated the Madisonville Square on Saturday enjoying the 15th annual Texas Mushroom Festival.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has said it was the largest crowd they’d ever seen at the festival,” said co-chair Donna Isaacs.
Isaacs said that organizers did not hire anyone to provide aerial photographs for crowd estimates, and not all festival-goers received a wristband to the beer and wine area, so their only head counts are ballpark figures.
“We had good feedback, and everybody had a good time,” she said.
The success of the event can largely be attributed to more than 260 volunteers and 65 committee members.
“Without them, it would have been impossible,” Isaacs said. “Our sponsors also did really well.
There were some minor challenges at the festival – difficulties with iPhone scanners for pre-paid tickets and a “couple of cars that weren’t parked where they were supposed to be,” but not much that will require sweeping changes to next year’s event, Isaacs said. She did note that a volunteer was threatened by a local resident who wanted to enter the beer and wine area without a wristband.
“[Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission] requires it to identify them whether they’re over 21 or under 21,” Isaacs said. “We allowed some children in strollers beyond the gate, and their little wrists were so small that we ended up putting the wristbands on their strollers.”
Despite that incident, Isaacs concluded that the Mushroom Festival is known as a family event, and typically people behave better when children and families are around.
A wrap-up meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11, and new officers for the festival committee will be elected in January.
“I had somebody tell me that they have friends in California who heard about our festival,” Isaacs said. “We must be doing something right.”