MESICK — After relocating to a rural area west of Cadillac, I was intrigued as an array of vehicles dotted the shoulders of my normally deserted country road. What were they doing? I soon became educated on the presence of morels and the upcoming Mesick Mushroom Festival.

Every year, the village of Mesick celebrates one of the region’s delicacies during Mother’s Day weekend.

That’s no slight to mom — it’s just when morel mushrooms typically hit their stride.

This year the festival reaches a diamond milestone as its 16th gathering is held May 10-12.

If you want to give mushrooming a try, you can buy a kit at the festival office.

Of course, there’s a lot more than just mushroom hunting happening during the festival. There’s mud bogging, softball and volleyball tournaments, a hobby and craft show, a flea market, a 5K run and a 2K walk, a parade and more.

Throughout the duration of the festival a family friendly carnival is held. The carnival gets into the spirit of the holiday as moms ride free with their kids on Sunday. Sponsored by the Lions Club, the carnival runs daily until 10 p.m. with Family Day on Friday.

Saturday’s festivities kick off bright and early at 8 a.m. with the 5K run and 2K walk. The race held at Northern Exposure campground will take participants on a scenic trail along the Manistee River just outside the village.

Attention then shifts downtown as the Grand Parade commences at noon. The grand marshal of the parade is longtime resident Allee Costales, who has served the community as a volunteer school crossing guard. Additionally his family has faithfully been foster care parents for 28 years.

Concurrently with the parade the Hobby and Craft show is held at the middle school from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

After the pageantry of the parade the festival gets a little dirty with a mud bog. Mud flies at 1:30 p.m. at the new entrance at the Quonset hut building.

If the mud bog in particular catches your eye, then you’re in luck. New this year is the “Bump and Run,‘ which will be held on Sunday May 12 at 3 p.m.

The way promoter Todd Sorensen describes it, a bump and run is kind of like a real-life bumper car event.

Except these are serious cars.

“A Bump n’ Run is an off-road race on an oval track, kinda like a small stock track, but you can hit each other!‘ Sorensen explained in a text message. “We also are doing Powder Puff for last in each class.‘

For kids ages 3-10 there will also be a power wheels derby.

To get involved in the demolition derby events, Sorensen suggests checking out the rules on his company’s website,

You can register for the events right up until 3 p.m. on show day, which will be Sunday, May 12.

The festival stresses its family-friendly events as well.

“The sky truly is the limit for quality family-friendly activities, fun, finds, fast thrills and food at our great hometown festival,‘ the festival’s website reads. “Mesick is a small town, with a big heart.‘

Cadillac News