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2009 Agate Hunt IMG_0046 (2).JPG


Hunting for agates in the creeks of Estill County is a long-standing tradition.  Agate hunters, often called rockhounds, are a folk group who enjoy traveling into the hill country to be out in nature with the wildlife and escape from the world.  They wade in the creeks in hopes of finding the rare and highly prized red and black agate, which is among the most beautiful found.

 Millions of years ago agates were formed by minerals filling a cavity in a host rock, creating the “gem of the hills.”  The Kentucky agate is prized by collectors world-wide for its bright red bands and other spectacular colors.  The rare agate has only been found in Estill and a few other surrounding counties.  Agate became Kentucky’s official state rock in the year 2000.

 Agate hunts will be offered as a pre-festival activity.  The agate hunts will be Tues., April 19 through Thurs., April 21.  Departure will be from the Central Office of the Estill County Public Schools parking lot at 9 a.m.  The cost will be $10 per person.   Agate hunters from Estill County will be the tour guides.  Registration is being accepted at Irvine City Hall.  A wait list will be made available if needed.  Those who register will need to wear appropriate clothing and wader boots and take bottled water, snacks, and a sack lunch. 

Cooking Stage

Mushroom Foodway Stage

The Foodway (food traditions) stage will be in the large tent at the corner of Broadway and Court Street (behind the Courthouse) in Irvine.  It will feature several activities from cooking demonstrations with different varieties of mushrooms to interviews with hunters and growers. 

Mushroom Market

Mushroom Market Tent

The mushroom related activities will be in the large tent at the corner of Broadway and Court Street (behind the Courthouse) in Irvine. 



Fungus 5K/2K Race

Get your running/walking shoes on for the Fungus 5K/2K on Saturday, April 23 at the Mountain Mushroom Festival. Registration forms are available here or at Irvine City Hall.  Complete attached registration, or sign up online HERE.


View T-shirt HERE. 



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On behalf of the Mountain Mushroom Festival Parade Committee, we would like to invite you to participate in our parade on Saturday, April 23 at 1 p.m.

The theme for this year's parade is "30 Years of Spore Lore".  The grand marshal will represent The Carhartt Team.



     Entertainment for the festival includes some of the favorites from past years plus some new activities. 

  • The ever popular train has been at the festival every year of the festival.  You're invited to ride on the Oleika Shriners Engineer train at the Mountain Mushroom Festival.  The Shriner conductors will be boarding riders at the “train station” in front of Citizen Voice & Times on Court Street.  Their hours of operation will be Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Inflatables in the Courthouse Annex lot on Court Street will include a variety such as Bounce House, slides, and others.

  • A petting zoo will have a display of animals, on Broadway.  They will have feed dispensers for children to feed the animals. 

  • Other children’s activities at booths include sand art, games, and interactive activities.

  • Princesses and other performers from the Estill County High School’s Blue Train Theatre’s spring performance “Game of Tiaras” will greet children as they walk through the festival on Saturday.

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Vision Screenings


Free vision screenings will be conducted by the Estill County Lions Club during the Mountain Mushroom Festival on Saturday, April 23 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) in the Courthouse Annex (former BB&T) at the corner of Broadway and Court Street.  The screenings will be done by using the Welch Allyn Spot Camera.  The state-of-the-art cameras use low-level infrared light to take 23 photos in one second.   The process is non-invasive, meaning no one has to be touched, no eye drops are used and the test normally takes only a few seconds to get accurate results. Nothing must be read or repeated.  The test can be done on children as young as 6 months or even less.  These cameras can detect:

  • myopia (near-sightedness),

  • far-sightedness (hyperopia),

  • unequal refractive power (anisometropia),

  • blurred vision,

  • eye structure problems (astigmatism),

  • pupil size deviations (anisocoria) and

  • eye misalignment (strabismus). 

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Historical Society

Estill County Historical & Genealogical Society Museum

Founded May, 1981

133-135 Broadway, Irvine, KY 40336

 The Estill County Historical and Genealogical Society has been collecting, preserving, and protecting artifacts, documents and other memorabilia since the museum was opened to promote knowledge and appreciation for the area heritage.  The building was erected in 1935 for the Park Brother Bus Line which was in business at this location until the mid-1940’s when the Black Brothers purchased the property and operated the bus service and restaurant called “Chat-N-Nibble.”  


The museum is filled with historic documents, objects, and photographs pertaining to Estill County history.  All items reveal the heritage of the people of Estill County to interpret life as it was lived during different periods of time.


Activities on Sat., April 23 and Sun., April 24 will include the following.
•    Displays/Exhibits:  They tell the story of Estill County.  Visitors will views displays of railroad, military, country store, photographs, farm implements, school, store, and home items.   Historic relics include a 1795 loom, boat steering wheel, old courthouse bell, quilts, and pictures.  
•    Books, publications, and cookbooks for sale:  The society has over 1,000 books and family files about Estill County, from 1808 when the county was established to the present. Publication of many books including court records, censuses, WW II, schools, calendars.  Mapping of county cemeteries is another project of the society.
•    The Museum and Research Library is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by special appointment during the week.  Admission is free.


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Morey Morel Mascot

Morey Morel is a “Fun Guy” who has been making appearances at the festival since 2014.  He wants to visit the 30th festival to welcome the many visitors from across Kentucky and many states.  He appears during the spring when the delicacy comes out of his secret hiding spot after a long winter.  

The Morchella Mushroom, or Morel, as it is most commonly referred to can be black, gray, brown, or white and are usually about six inches high.  Early varieties seem to thrive on top of limestone cliffs, but as the spring weather warms, they begin to “bloom” lower down around the sides of the mountain and down in the hollers.  Most mushroom hunters refer to the morel as “dry land fish” because of their slightly fishy taste.  The morel mushroom is hollow and the honeycomb or sponge like cap sometimes hangs over the cylindrical stem.  

Look for Morey at the festival.  He will be honored to get his picture made with you!

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(Intersection of Main Street & Broadway, Irvine, KY)


Come out and enjoy the free live performances at the Grandstand during the festival.  The festival is proud to present some great local talent of which we are so proud.  Many of the groups/individuals are on Facebook and YouTube.   Check them out and you will see what a treat it will be to have them perform.

Besides great talent the festival provides a professional stage/tent and a professional sound system by Darrell Horn Sound.  Bring your own lawn chair or for your convenience the festival will have seating available, bleachers and a tent with folding chairs.

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