McCarthy Jazz Trio plays Music on the Green Friday from 5-7 p.m. (Courtesy photo)

In 2004 my best friend and I came to Telluride to see Michael Franti and Spearhead open for String Cheese Incident in Town Park. We didn’t really care much about the headliners, but I had discovered Franti earlier that year and I was obsessed with Spearhead.

The guy my friend was dating at the time tagged along with us, and on the drive from Durango I vividly remember him telling us about the Telluride Mushroom Festival. As foolish 17-year-olds, we wondered if the festival involved hallucinogenic mushrooms. That also might have been the same time I started to wonder if Telluride had a festival for almost everything. All these years later, my second musing has proven to be true.

Wednesday was the kick-off the 39th annual Telluride Mushroom Festival. This is perhaps one of the most unique festivals to call the box canyon home. I personally love the community the festival fosters. Think about it — this festival brings together a melange of people from all over the world to Telluride to discuss at length the merits of mycology, go foraging in the woods for mushrooms, meticulously identify and clean them, and then eat the edible ones. That’s a pretty awesome premise for a festival.

And this is coming from someone who doesn’t like mushrooms. I have tried to give them a chance year after year, especially when a dear friend shares her chanterelle dish at summer potlucks, but I simply don’t have the palate for them. I think it’s the texture.

But I’m all for the cast of characters who flock to Telluride for North America’s biggest wild mushroom event, which this year boasts more than 40 nationally- and world-renowned lecturers, researchers and foray leaders with more than 80 total events taking place during the four-day festival.

Perhaps my favorite event of the weekend is the parade that starts at Elks Park and ends at Telluride Town Park. This year the parade is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday. Come see the impressive array of mushroom costumes and join in on the drum circle and festivities if you’re up for it!

The festival runs through Sunday. For a full schedule of events visit tellurideinstitute.org/telluride-mushroom-festival, or swing by the festival’s hospitality desk at the Sheridan Opera House all weekend.

This weekend also marks the inaugural Telluride Reserve, a new wine and food festival put on by the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and Telluride Ski Resort. Some of the food and wine industry’s leading professionals have flocked to the area to share their knowledge and love with passholders.

Telluride Reserve takes place tonight (Thursday) through Sunday. The schedule and limited tickets can be found online at telluridereserve.com.

Friday night, regional jazz man Kevin McCarthy and his trio will play the weekly Music on the Green in Reflection Plaza adjacent to Hotel Madeline from 5-7 p.m.

And if you’re looking for some more reggae in your life, head to the Phoenix Bean on Friday night for DandyLion, one of Telluride’s very own reggae roots bands. They’ll play at 6 p.m.

The Phoenix Bean really has been crushing the local live music game this summer with a rotating schedule of stellar musicians throughout the week. Depending on the weather, the talent plays either in the front window of the coffee shop (that also has a bar) or on the back patio.

Saturday the Phoenix Bean will host the Telluride Gold Kings for their weekly Saturday slot (at 6 p.m.) and Tuesday Porch Couch plays at 6 p.m.

Be sure to check out the Beat Sheet for a full rundown of local live music happening at the Phoenix Bean and elsewhere this summer.