When it comes to springtime in the mountains, nothing epitomizes Appalachian hospitality better than an old-fashioned ramp feed.
After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, Richwood is again hosting its signature annual event. The 82nd Feast of the Ramson Ramp Festival is Saturday, May 15, in downtown Richwood at the Moose Lodge.
“That Unique Mountain Flavor” is the newly adopted motto for the City of Richwood. For a town that has long claimed to be the Ramp Capital of the World, the shoe fits.
On Saturday, the community will come together to put on one of the largest ramp dinners in the state. Local ramp diggers started in February hauling the freshly-dug leeks into town to sell them by the bag. For weeks, volunteers have been meeting at the former National Guard armory to clean the pungent plants — including 90-year-old Mary Fraley (see photo).
Local residents bake cakes and desserts. On Friday night, volunteers will begin cooking the meal for an estimated 900 to 1,200 guests. Others will dish out the food on Saturday. Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary Nicole Dudley estimates that at least 150 local Richwooders take part in the event in one way or another.
School construction in Richwood has complicated the event for the past five years. Gone is the high school’s cafeteria, and the elementary school lunch room is unavailable this year because of construction of the new K-12 school. This year, the local Moose Lodge will step in to provide the kitchen as well as dining facilities to host the ramp lovers.
The Feast of the Ramson begins at 10:30 a.m. and lasts until around 3 p.m. or whenever the food runs out. Indoor and outdoor seating will be available, as well as carry-outs.
In addition to ramps, the menu will include potatoes, brown beans, cornbread, ham and bacon, desserts, Gub’s Sassafras Tea (also available for sale) and cold drinks.
“I’m telling people to come early,” said Dudley.
There will be live music from local groups. An Arts and Crafts Fair will be set up at City Hall and the Public Library beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. This year, a citywide yard sale will also be going on.
Cost for the meal is $15 for adults and $7 for children. Tickets can be purchased at the door.