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      Annual Fungus Fest begins in Crystal Falls

      Thereâ??s nothing like a 100-ton, underground fungus to bring a small community together. But in Crystal Falls, the Humungous Fungus isn't something to be feared, it's something celebrated.

      â??Ever since the mushroom was discovered, a group of us got together and started the first Fungus Fest here in Crystal Falls and ever since then, it's been going strong,â?? said Festival founder, Jeff Syrjanen.

      To start off the night, the horse race-style annual Great Ball Race down Main Street brought out eager residents looking to win some prize money.

      â??The Great Ball Race was started by the Rotary Club approximately 25 years ago,â?? said Knights of Columbus member, Dave Grondin. â??The Rotary Club disbanded and they wanted the tradition to continue on so they handed it to the Knights of Columbus.â??

      The winners of the ball race received prizes ranging from $50 to $400 in cash. A bake sale and the annual city-wide parade got people in the spirit for celebrating the fungus they've grown to love.

      â??Itâ??s 38 acres, but the major thing about it is it's no how big it is, it's how old it is,â?? Syrjanen said. â??Itâ??s the oldest living organism known to mankind; it's over 10,000 years old.â??

      The community will be commemorating the mammoth mushroom throughout the weekend, including the annual Humungous Pizza event on Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m.

      â??We actually used to hoist it up with a big boom truck on a charcoal pit of fire and it was kind of a neat thing for people to watch take place,â?? Syrjanen said.

      It may be one of the more unique festivals, to be sure, but the people of Crystal Falls seem to cherish the Humungous Fungus that's been keeping the area company for hundreds of years.