KENTUCKY AGATE HUNT
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 25 through Thurs., April 27. Departure will be from the Estill County Fairgrounds parking lot at 9 a.m. The cost will be $25 per person. Agate hunters from Estill County will be the tour guides.
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.
On behalf of the Mountain Mushroom Festival Parade Committee, we would like to invite you to participate in our parade on Saturday, April 29 at 1 p.m. All groups, churches, schools, fire departments, businesses, and organizations are invited to participate by entering a float, band, antique car, or other related parade unit.
The theme for this year's parade is "Morel Madness". Estill County High School Band Director Jason Bowles and Asst. Jamie Hill have been nominated as The Grand Marshals.
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 Colonial Hotel (former Citizen Voice & Times) on Court Street. Their hours of operation will be Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 30 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, Slide, and Obstacle Course.
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 bubble blowing, face painting, games, and interactive activities.
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 29 and Sun., April 30 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.
Exhibit: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition: Kentuckians and World War II. World War II was a watershed moment in U.S. history, and for Kentuckians, life changed drastically between 1941 and 1945. The exhibit examines what took place, and why, both on the home front and overseas. It tells the story of the incredible spirit and efforts of Kentuckians and their sacrifices and hardships, joys and sorrows. This exhibit, created by the Kentucky Historical Society and funded by the United States Department of Defense, contains color photographs of artifacts and images from the collections of the Kentucky Historical Society’s museums.
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.
Morey Morel Mascot
Morey Morel is a “Fun Guy” who loves making appearances at the festival! The festival ambassador welcomes the many visitors from across Kentucky and many states. Morey 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
(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.
"Morel Madness" spirit will be shown to visitors and home folks alike by businesses who participate in Window Decorating for the festival. The festival committee would like to invite Irvine and Ravenna area businesses to participate. It's a way to make our community more attractive, showcase businesses, and show pride.