WV Ramp Dinners & Festivals

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 the Appalachian forests in spring. The ramp became the focus for a tradition of community feasts — a tradition that lingers in rural Appalachia.

David Vincent enjoys a ramp dinner at the Richwood Ramp Festival.

Beginning in April and continuing through May, scores of community ramp dinners and full-scae festivals are hosted throughout the state. Many are small affairs that welcome fewer than a hundred guests. Others feed more than 1,000 in the course of an afternoon.

Ramp Dinner Menus

Ramp fare ranges from traditional to gourmet. Traditionally, ramp dinners of the kind that are sponsored as fundraisers for churches, libraries and volunteer fire departments usually include ramps fried in bacon grease, often served alongside ham and fried potatoes, cornbread and beans, and eggs scrambled with ramps. Raw ramps are often served as a salad, and plenty of dessert selections are generally at hand.

Ramp recipes are also getting fancy. In recent years, ramp hot dogs, ramp risotto, ramp tortellini, and ramp-sausage sandwiches have appeared on local ramp-dinner menus, alongside ramp chili, ramp burgers, and "ramperoni rolls," a variation on West Virginia pepperoni rolls.

Most dinners also offer ramp-free alternatives, and many also offer fresh bagged ramps to take home. Some provide take-out service.

Roadside Ramp Stands

Want to buy ramps without attending a dinner? Hundreds of harvesters set up roadside stands in March, April, and May.

2019 Schedule of Ramp Dinners and Festivals

Buckhannon Eagles Dinner
April 6 (Saturday)
Buckhannon, West Virginia
Upshur County

The annual all-you-can-eat 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 person applies. 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.

Calvary Ramp Dinner
April 6 (Saturday)
Valley Head, West Virginia
Randolph County

From noon to 2:30 p.m., Calvary Assembly of God dinner will feature ham, ramps, potatoes, beans, cornbread, biscuits, and dessert and drinks. Admission is $12. Call 304-338-2087 for more information.

Long Point Grille Fundraiser
April 6 (Saturday)
Mount Nebo, West Virginia
Nicholas County

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the annual fundraiser for the Nicholas County Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps will include cooked ramps and potatoes ramp casserole, ramp pizza, pinto beans, cornbread, macaroni salad, macaroni and cheese, berry cobbler and apple crisp. Admission is $15 per adult and $8 for childen 12 to 5. Call 304-872-2100 for more information.

New Life Church Ramp Dinner
April 13 (Saturday)
Beverly, West Virginia
Randolph County

From noon to 4 p.m., the annual all-you-can-eat ramp dinner at the New Life Church in Beverly will feature ham, raw and cooked ramps, potatoes with and without ramps, brown and white beans, and dessert and drinks. Admission is $12. Call 304-338-2087 for more information.

Feast of the Ramson
April 13 (Saturday)
Richwood, West Virginia
Nicholas County

In its 81th year, the 10 a.m.-to-4 p.m. festival at Cherry River Elementary School 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. A charge of $15 per adult guest and $7 per child applies, though advance tickets are available at $13 per adult and $6 per child younger than 12 years old. For more information, call 304-846-6790 or visit the .

Pickens Ramp Dinner
April 20 (Saturday)
Pickens, West Virginia
Randolph County

From 2 to 6 p.m., the annual Pickens Ramp Dinner will feature ham, brown beans, ramps, cole slaw, cornbread, fried potatoes, applesauce, and dessert. Sponsored by Pickens Post 122 of the American Legion, admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. Call 304-924-5813 for more information.

Shortline Ramp Festival
April 20 (Saturday)
Pine Grove, West Virginia
Wetzel County

The fifth annual held at the Robert C. Byrd Center and Park on North Fork Road will include a 5K run and walk, live Bluegrass music, a children's area with games and prizes and a bounce house. A full ramp dinner will be served inside the center and ramp food vendors will set up outside. A box car race, a ramp-eating contest, horseshoe-pitching competition, and Little Miss and Mister Ramp contest are among festival highlights. Call 304-455-3825 or visit its .

Upshur County Library Ramp Dinner
April 26 (Friday)
Buckhannon, West Virginia
Upshur County

From 5 until 7 p.m., dinner will include roasted pork-loin cutlet with ramp chimichurri (with and without ramps), roasted vegetables, bacon macaroni-and-cheese (with and without ramps), artisan greens tossed with charred ramp champagne vinaigrette and house vinaigrette with buttermilk, bacon-and-ramp biscuits and dinner rolls with butter and ramp-herb compound butter. Dessert includes rhubarb crisp and apple pie. Tickets are $25 per adult at $12.50 per child younger than 12. All proceeds benefit the Upshur County Public Library. Advanced reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 304-473-4219, extension 14, for more information.

April 27 (Saturday)
Huntington, West Virginia
Cabell County

From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the Wild Ramp at 555 W. 14th St. in Old Central City will host the fifth annual Stinkfest. The event is free and open to the public. Food vendors will provide ramp dish specialties, and music, arts, and activities for the kids. For more information, call 304-523-7267 or visit the Wild Ramp .

Faith Gospel Ramp Dinner
April 27 (Saturday)
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Wood County

From 2 to 5 p.m., the all-you-can-eat menu includes ham, fried ramps, fried potatoes, fried potatoes with ramps, ramp salad, soup beans, corn bread and dessert. Admission is $12 per adult and $6 per child 11 and younger. For more information, call 304-481-3867.

Sims Memorial United Methodist Church
April 27 (Saturday)
Swiss, West Virginia
Nicholas County

From 4 to 6 p.m., members of the Sims Memorial United Methodist Church will be serving fried ramps, fried potatoes with & without ramps, ham, pinto beans, ramp casserole, scrambled eggs & ramps, corn bread and desserts. Ramp-free foods will be available. Admission is $10 per adult at $5 per child younger than 12 $5. Contact the church for more information.

Mason-Dixon Park Ramp Dinner
April 27 (Saturday)
Core, West Virginia
Monongalia County

The 24th annual ramp dinner at Mason-Dixon Historical Park includes standard ramp-dinner fare and runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. A free guided wildflower walk begins at 1:15 p.m. Dinner admission is $10 per adult and $5 per child 12 and younger; children under six are admitted free. For more information, call 304-879-4101 or email masondixonhistoricalpark@gmail.com.

Camp Caesar Ramp Dinner
April 27 (Saturday)
Cowen, West Virginia
Webster County

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 and $25 for two. Table service is provided. For more information, call 304-226-3888 or visit the camp .

Camp Creek Ramp Feast
April 27 (Saturday)
Camp Creek, West Virginia
Mercer County

A celebration of the timber industry and the ramp harvest, the 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. ramp feast includes ramp casserole, brown beans, cornbread, coleslaw, nachos, hot-dogs and dessert at Camp Creek State Park. A $12 dinner admission will raise funds for the Camp Creek State Park & Forest Foundation. Other weekend events include a 8-10 a.m. birding and wildflower walk, and wood-cutting competitions from 11-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. For more information, call 304-425-9481.

Helvetia Ramp Dinner
April 27 (Saturday)
Helvetia, West Virginia
Randolph County

In the Helvetia Historic District, the 2-to-6:30 p.m. dinner includes ramps, ham, fried potatoes, soup beans, coleslaw, applesauce, cornbread, and desserts and beverages. Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children 5-12 years old. A square dance (admission $5) with music by the Helvetia Star Band follows 8-11 p.m. at the community hall. For more information, visit the Helvetia .

Ramp-&-Rails Festival
April 27 (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 . The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad will run one-hour train rides in conjunction with the festival.

St. John's Ramp Dinner
April 27 (Saturday)
Colliers, West Virginia
Brooke County

From noon until 5 p.m., dinner at Olde St. John's Episcopal Church (c. 1793) will include ramps fried with bacon and potatoes, soup beans, cornbread, as well as ramp hot dogs, ramp tortellini soup, and ramp sausage sandwiches with fried ramps and a sweet onion marmalade. Fresh ramps will also be available for sale. Meals are $8 per guest.

Quick Community Ramp Dinner
April 27 (Saturday)
Quick, West Virginia
Kanawha County

A fundraiser to benefit the Quick Community Center, admission for the dinner, which includes traditional ramp fare, is $12 for adults and $5 per for children 12 and younger. The address for the festivities is 23 Lucy Lane, Clendenin, West Virginia, though the feast is located in the heart of the village of Quick, six miles past the Pinch-Quick intersection. For more information, call 304-965-2570 or 304-437-1768. On the day of event call 304-965-9008.

Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department Dinner
April 28 (Sunday)
Buffalo, West Virginia
Putnam County

Dinner will include ham, ramps, pinto beans, fried potatoes, macaroni salad, dessert, and a drink. Price will be $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12. The Bandwagon will perform Bluegrass from noon until 3 p.m. For more information, call 304-532-0246.

Leivasy Ramp Dinner
May 4 (Saturday)
Leivasy, West Virginia
Nicholas County

The annual ramp dinner at The Peoples' Place community center, the former Leivasy Elementary School, is scheduled from noon until 5 p.m. and will include classic ramps, eggs, pork, beans, and bread. Dinner will be served indoors in the cafeteria and outdoors on the playground. Admission is $12 for adults (and for take-outs), $6 for children 3-12. Find out more on their .

New Bethel United Methodist Church
May 4 (Saturday)
Good Hope, West Virginia
Harrison County

A fundraiser for , the third annual dinner will be served from 11:30 a.m. until the food runs out. The menu includes fried ramps, boiled ramps, fried potatoes with ramps, fried potatoes, soup beans, ham and bacon. Admission is $10 per meal, and take-out is available.

H.E. White Elementary
May 5 (Sunday)
Bomont, West Virginia
Clay County

The annual H. E. White Elementary PTO Ramp Dinner is scheduled from 11 a.m. until the food runs out and will feature ramps fried in bacon grease, ham, and fried potatoes with-or-without ramps as well as corn, green beans, white or brown beans, cornbread or a roll, dessert, soft drinks, water, and sassafras tea. Admission is $10 per person. Guests may also purchase gallons of sassafras tea for $6 a gallon and 50/50 raffle tickets. Find out more .

Mathias Community Ramp Dinner
May 18 (Saturday)
Mathias, West Virginia
Hardy County

Hosted at the Mathias Community Center, the 4-7 p.m. dinner includes traditional ramp-dinner fare. Donations provide for community outreach programs for the Jenkins Chapel United Methodist Church. For more information, call 304-897-5219 or visit the Hardy County visitors center .

Photos of Ramps and Ramp Dinners

Visitors share their appreciation of ramps in our .

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 to let us know of ramp feasts we've not included here.

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