Sibray says enthusiasm for West Virginia ramp festivals growing

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Sibray says enthusiasm for West Virginia ramp festivals growing
Ramp festivals are enjoying increased attendance, according to David Sibray, publisher of West Virginia Explorer Magazine.

RICHWOOD, W.Va. — Enthusiasm for attending is growing along with tourism, says the publisher of the state's leading travel publications.

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More than ever, visitors are searching for information on ramps and ramp festivals online at West Virginia Explorer Magazine, according to publisher David Sibray, where more than 50,000 interactions have been logged since January 1, 2024.

"Last year, we saw more than 39,000 inquires by spring ramp season," Sibray said, "this year, more than 50,000, which seems to be at about the pace at which tourism is growing in the state."

are garlic-like vegetables that grow wild in West Virginia forests and are the focus of spring community feasts, often in support of non-profit organizations such as churches and volunteer fire departments.

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Once limited mainly to attracting attendance from nearby communities, the dinners and festivals draw from multiple states, and attendees plan mini-vacations around the events.

Sibray said that as of last year, according to the W.Va. Department of Tourism, the Mountain State had enjoyed since the covid outbreak, while most of the U.S. had witnessed only a 1 percent increase.

"West Virginia has turned a corner," he said. "The nation has discovered West Virginia, and people are vacationing here and moving here in numbers we've not seen before."

Sibray said festival organizers hosting more significant numbers of attendees are also becoming more responsible about harvesting.

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"It had long been a concern of mine that the increase in festivals might lead to over-harvesting, but many harvesters are invested in preserving the resource through good husbandry," he said.

Sibray said more than 20 non-profit ramp festivals now publish their events online at the magazine's page, which has been published for over a decade.

"Over the years, we've seen dinners come and go, but one notable thing is that organizers and attendees all share an enthusiasm for these events,' he said. If anything, that enthusiasm has increased over the years.


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