WV 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.

 Most ramp events have been canceled due to the coronavirus.
Others have shifted to a take-out format. Please call to confirm. 

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.

2021 Schedule of Ramp Dinners and Festivals

 Many 2021 ramp events have been canceled due to the coronavirus.
Others have shifted to a take-out format. Please call to confirm availability. 

Buckhannon Eagles Dinner
April 4 (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.

Long Point Grille Fundraiser
April 4 (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 children 12 to 5. Call 304-872-2100 for more information.

Shortline Ramp Festival
April 11 (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 boxcar 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 Facebook page.

Feast of the Ramson
April 18 (Saturday)
Richwood, West Virginia
Nicholas County

In its 82nd 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. There will be a charge of $15 per adult guest and $7 per child younger than 12 years old. For more information, call 304-846-6790 or visit the website.

Camp Creek Ramp Feast
April 18 (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.

Old Saint John's Ramp Dinner
April 18 (Saturday)
Colliers, West Virginia
Brooke County

From 1 until 5 p.m., dinner at Old St. John's Episcopal Church (c. 1793) will include Ramps,  fried potatoes and bacon, soup beans, cornbread, and drinks. Extras include Ramp dogs, ramp sausage, ramp tortellini soup, and Ramperoni rolls.  Fresh ramps will also be available for sale. Meals are $8 per guest. Call 304-527-4746 for information.

Pickens Ramp Dinner
April 18 (Saturday)
Pickens, West Virginia
Randolph County

From 2 to 6 p.m., the annual Pickens Ramp Dinner will feature ham, brown beans, ramps, coleslaw, 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.

April 18 (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 Wild Ramp website.

Upshur County Library Ramp Dinner
April 24 (Friday)
Buckhannon, West Virginia
Upshur County

From 5 until 8 p.m., dinner will include baked ham, stir-fried vegetables, and macaroni and cheese, both with and without ramps, potato-and-ramp soup, garden salad with ramp-and-dill buttermilk dressing, both with and without ramps, buttermilk bacon and ramp biscuits, and dinner rolls with butter and ramp-herb compound butter. Dessert will include rustic apple pie and ginger-molasses cookies with vanilla bean ice cream. Tickets are $25 per adult and $12.50 per child younger than 12. All proceeds benefit the Upshur County Public Library. Advanced reservations are required. Call 304-473-4219, extension 10 or 14, for more information.

Mason-Dixon Park Ramp Dinner
April 25 (Saturday)
Core, West Virginia
Monongalia County

The 25th 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.

Mount Liberty Community Ramp Dinner
April 25 (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 on sale for $8 per quart or $5 per pint. Call 304-614-6332 for directions or questions.

Camp Caesar Ramp Dinner
April 25 (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 website.

Helvetia Ramp Dinner
April 25 (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 website.

Ramp-&-Rails Festival
April 25 (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.

St. John's Ramp Dinner
April 25 (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
May 1 (Saturday)
Quick, West Virginia
Kanawha County

A fundraiser to benefit the Quick Community Center, admission for the dinner, which includes traditional ramp fare, is $10 for adults and $5 per for children six and younger. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The address for the festivities is 23 Lucy Lane in Quick, six miles past the Pinch-Quick intersection. For more information, call 304-965-9008.

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 Facebook page.

Visitors share their appreciation of ramps in our gallery of ramps and ramp dinners.

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.