West Virginia Ramp Dinners & Festivals

Cleaned ramps in Bowl
Fresh cut ramps are the focus of most traditional West Virginia ramp dinners in spring. Photo courtesy Kathy Hunter.

After a long winter, settlers in West Virginia hungrily welcomed the appearance of the wild leek or ramp, one of the first edible plants to ripen in spring. It became the focus for a tradition of community feasts—a tradition that has lingered long in rural Appalachia.

Scores of community ramp dinner, as well as full-scale festivals, are hosted throughout the state beginning in April and continuing through May. Most are small affairs that welcome fewer than a hundred guests, while others feed more than 1,000.

Most ramp feasts function as fundraisers for churches, libraries, and volunteer fire departments, and so the events are welcomed with even more than usual zeal, and travelers are always welcomed.

Ramp Dinner Menus

Traditional ramp dinners usually include ramps fried in bacon grease served alongside ham and fried potatoes, often with cornbread and beans, and eggs scrambled with ramps. Raw ramps are often served as a salad, and dessert selections are usually provided.

In recent years, however, ramp fans have begun to experiment with menus and recipes, and some dinner venues now serve ramp chili, ramp burgers, and "ramp-peroni rolls," a variation on West Virginia pepperoni roll. Most dinners also offer ramp-free alternatives, and many offer fresh bagged ramps to take home. Some provide take-out service.

Will ramps cause body odor?  Chemical compounds in ramps, onions, and garlic eaten in great quantities can all be exuded in sweat and on the breath. However, ramps consumed in moderation are not likely to have a noticeable effect.

Roadside Ramp Stands

Hundreds of harvesters set up roadside ramp stand in March, April, and May, providing motorists the opportunity to grab bag or bundle.


2022 Schedule of Ramp Dinners and Festivals

 

Buckhannon Eagles Dinner
April 2 (Saturday)
Buckhannon, WV

The annual ramp dinner at the Buckhannon Eagles Club 4357 will be held at the club on WV-20 from noon until the food runs out. A charge of $15 per plate. The menu will include raw, cooked, and deep-fried ramps as well as ham, cornbread, applesauce, pickled eggs, white and brown beans, and fried potatoes with and without ramps. For more information, call 304-472-4858.


Shortline Ramp Festival
April 9 (Saturday)
Pine Grove, West Virginia
Wetzel County

This year it will be held in a new location (approximately 10 minutes from the former location) in the field behind the Short Line School in Reader. The 5k will start at 9 a.m. while the festival will kickoff at 10 a.m. A full ramp dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until the food runs out) in the school cafeteria which is right beside the field. Outside there will be crafters and vendors, a ramp eating contest, live bluegrass music, ramps for sale, children's games, as well as a ramp cook-off with ramp foods to sample. Call 304-455-3825 or visit its Facebook page.


Delbert Church Ramp Dinner
April 16 (Saturday)
Naoma, West Virginia

From 12 p.m. until 5 p.m., the Delbert Church in Naoma will host a ramp dinner. For $12 per person, the dinner includes ramps, fried potatoes, hot dogs, bacon, pinto beans, corn bread and desserts. The dinner is sponsored by the Delbert Church Ladies Aid. for more information, call 304-673-4356.


Pickens Ramp Dinner
April 16 (Saturday)
Pickens, West Virginia
Randolph County

From 1 to 6 p.m., the annual Pickens Ramp Dinner will feature ham, brown beans, ramps, coleslaw, cornbread, fried potatoes, applesauce, and dessert. Both takeout and eat-in with social distancing available. Sponsored by Pickens Post 122 of the American Legion, admission is $17 for adults and $8 for children 6 to 12, children 5 and under are free with paying adult. Call 304-924-5813 for more information.


Upshur County Library Ramp Dinner
April 22 (Friday)
Buckhannon, West Virginia
Upshur County

The 27th annual dinner will be held at the Event Center at Brushy Fork at 929 Brushy Fork Road, Buckhannon, WV. It will be help from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include baked ham, stir-fried vegetables (with and without ramps), and macaroni and cheese (with and without ramps), potato-and-ramp soup, quiche with ramps, garden salad with ramp-and-dill buttermilk dressing (with and without ramps), and dinner rolls with butter and ramp-herb compound butter. Dessert will include rustic apple pie and ginger-molasses cookies. Tickets are $25 per adult and $12.50 per child younger than 12. All proceeds benefit the Upshur County Public Library. Dine-in as well as curbside pickup available. Advanced reservations are required and accepted through April 17th (be sure to include with or without ramp selections when making your reservations) via this link. Call 304-473-4219, extension 10 or 14, for more information.


Harmony For Hope Ramp Dinner
April 23 (Saturday)
Mount Hope, West Virginia

Harmony for Hope will be having a ramp dinner at the Historic Cottle Mountainair Hotel in Mount Hope as part of a presentation of the Smithsonian, Museum on Main Street, Crossroads: Change in Rural America exhibition. The dinner will be 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with a menu of ramps, beans, fried potatoes and cornbread. The costs is $15 for adults and $8 for children and it is highly suggested that you pre-purchase your tickets via this link. For more information, call 304-860-7843.


Ramp-&-Rails Festival
April 23 (Saturday)
Elkins, West Virginia
Randolph County

Next to the Elkins Depot, the free 10 a.m-to-5 p.m. festival includes crafts, live entertainment, and a favorite ramp-dish contest. Vendors have designed delicious ramp-themed foods such as ramp chili, ramp burgers, ramperoni rolls, and ramp risotto with shrimp. For more information, call 304-635-7803 or visit the Elkins welcome center website. The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad will run one-hour train rides in conjunction with the festival.


Two Runs Community Ramp Dinner
April 23 (Saturday)
Palestine, West Virginia

The Two Runs Community Building, 9131 Palestine Road, Palestine, WV, will be hosting a ramp dinner on April 23rd from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The $14 meal will include soup beans, cornbread, ramps, sausage and gravy, fried potatoes, dessert and a drink. The $6 meal will include soup beans, cornbread, dessert and a drink. For more information, call 304-834-8182.


Camp Caesar Ramp Dinner
April 30 (Saturday)
Cowen, West Virginia
Webster County

Held at the dining hall at Camp Caesar, off WV-20 north of Cowen, at Upper Glade, the 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. dinner will include ramps, ham, eggs, bacon, cornbread, brown beans, fried potatoes, and dessert. Take-out orders are available. The cost is $15 for one person, $25 for two, $10 for children, 5 and under are free with paying adult. Table service is provided. For more information, call 304-226-3888 or visit the camp website.


Camp Creek Ramp Feast
April 30 (Saturday)
Camp Creek, West Virginia
Mercer County

This year's event is hosted by Jeep'n at the Creek at Camp Creek State Park. The festival will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a variety of activities including a Jeep show, live music (Eddie Mars in the morning and Hidden Mountain Treasures in the evening), an army simulator, food and craft vendors, and Star 95 Radio. The ramp dinner will be from 11 a.m.-to-5 p.m. or until the food runs out. The menu includes ramp casserole, brown beans, cornbread, coleslaw, nachos, hot-dogs and dessert at Camp Creek State Park. A $14 dinner admission will raise funds for the Camp Creek State Park & Forest Foundation. For more information, call 304-425-9481.


Helvetia Ramp Dinner
April 30 (Saturday)
Helvetia, West Virginia
Randolph County

Hosted by the Helvetia Farm Women and the Helvetia Community Hall Association, the annual ramp dinner will be held on April 30th. Food will be served from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., or until the food runs out. This year's dinner will be different in that you will receive generous take out portions instead of the usual eat-in dinner, but you are welcome to relax and eat at one of the tables provided both inside and outside the building. The menu will include ham, cornbread, ramps (prepared with bacon), beans, fried potatoes, coleslaw, applesauce, dessert, coffee, lemonade. Plates will be $17 per adult and $8 per child. For more information, visit their website.


Humane Society of Raleigh County Ramp Dinner
April 30 (Saturday)
Beckley, West Virginia

The Humane Society of Raleigh County will be having a ramp dinner at the Beckley Moose Lodge at 410 New River Drive from 5:30 p.m until 8 p.m. or until the food runs out. The meals costs $10 per person and will include ramps, ham, pinto beans, fried potatoes and corn bread. All proceeds will go to the Humane Society and building the Delaney Wykle Animal Wellness Center. For more information, call the Humane Society at 304-253-8921.


Leivasy Ramp Dinner
April 30 (Saturday)
Leivasy, West Virginia

The annual ramp dinner at The People's Place Community Center, the former Leivasy Elementary School, is scheduled from noon until 5 p.m. and will include classic ramps, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, beans, ham, bacon, cornbread, corn pone, pickled eggs, pop, water, buttermilk, coffee, homemade sassafras tea and desserts. Dinner will be served indoors in the cafeteria and outdoors on the playground. Admission is $15 for adults and $8 for children. Call 304-846-9147 for more information.


Mount Liberty Community Ramp Dinner
April 30 (Saturday)
Philippi, West Virginia
Barbour County

The Mount Liberty Community Ramp Dinner will run from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and will feature ham, raw and cooked ramps, potatoes fried with and without ramps, brown and white beans, cornbread, rolls, homemade applesauce, dessert and drinks, and Mount Liberty's homemade apple butter. Pricing to be announced. Mount Liberty's famous apple butter will be for sale on a first come basis. Call 304-614-6332 for directions or questions.


Quick Community Ramp Dinner
April 30 (Saturday)
Quick, West Virginia

A fundraiser to benefit the Quick Community Center from 11 a.m. to 3p.m., admission for dinner, which includes traditional ramp fare, is $10 per person ages 7 and up and $5 per child 6 and under with paying adult. They now accept credit cards along with cash and checks. The address is 23 Lucy Lane in Quick, six miles past the Pinch-Quick intersection. Call 304-965-9008 for more information.


Stinkfest
April 30 (Saturday)
Huntington, West Virginia
Cabell County

As one of The Wild Ramp's signature annual events, Stinkfest is a celebration of the market's namesake, Allium tricoccum, commonly known as a ramp or wild leek. This day-long festival will feature ramp dishes from The Wild Ramp Harvest Kitchen as well as other local food businesses. There will also be artisan and produce vendors, music and kid's activities. Admission is free. The Wild Ramp is located at 555 14th Street West (Central City Antiques District), Huntington. For the most up-to-date information check out the events calendar on the Wild Ramp website or follow The Wild Ramp on Facebook or Instagram.


3rd Annual Ramp Dinner for Suicide Prevention
May 14 (Saturday)
Jane Lew, WV

The Rock Springs Tavern will be hosting the 3rd annual ramp dinner for Suicide Prevention from 12 p.m. until the food runs out. For $10 per plate, the menu includes, ramps, beans, cornbread, ham, bacon salad, dessert and a drink. The event will be outside with covered tables and tents. Takeout will be available. There will also be raffles, 50/50 and silent auctions. Plenty of parking. 1342 US HWY 19, Jane Lew, WV/ For more information, call 304-269-2958.


Feast of the Ramson
May 14 (Saturday)
Richwood, West Virginia
Nicholas County

In its 83rd year, the 10 a.m.-to-4 p.m. festival at a new location at the Richwood Community Center (former  Armory) includes crafts, live music, a ramp recipe contest, and a 10:30 a.m.-to-3 p.m. dinner with traditional ramp fare and sassafras tea. There will be a charge of $20 per adult guest and $10 per child younger than 12 years old. For more information, call 304-846-6790 or visit the website.


Do you know of West Virginia ramp feasts we need to include?

Please contact the offices of West Virginia Explorer at 304-575-7390 or use our request for ramp festival information to let us know of ramp feasts we've not included here.