Those attending the festival got their fill of several local favorites, including fried ramps and sausage, pinto beans, green beans, fried potatoes, fried tomatoes, cornbread and hot dogs, along with several desserts. Visitors were also treated to a musical performance from the Kentucky Mountain Trio, a gospel music group from Stearns.
“They like the Ramp Festival because it’s something different. They come for the food. They like that kind of cooking,” said Evarts Mayor Burl Fee.
“We had plenty of food. We cooked up about 21 gallons of ramps and fried sausages, and it went fast. Overall, it was a real good event for an Easter weekend,” Harlan County Ridge Runners President Preston McLain added. “They want to know what a ramp is at first. But once they try them, they usually finish their plate.”
McLain said visitors come to the area for a variety of reasons.
“They like to ride in the mountains down here, and they really like the way they get treated down here. We treat them like family here in the mountains. That is why they come back,” he said.
While numbers where admittedly down for the event, approximately 18 percent, local officials remained pleased with the turnout.
“We had a good turnout with it being so close to Easter. It has slowed down some because of the economy, but we will have a good summer,” Fee said. “We treat people right when they come in here. There were people who came in and didn’t ride — they just ate.”
“We had a lot of people coming back that had been here before, but we also had some new groups out of Indiana that came down and really enjoyed it,” McLain added.
McLain said the lower numbers could be due to the event falling on Easter weekend.
“We will probably look at making the Ramp Festival a weekend other than Easter weekend,” McLain said.
According to McLain, there were approximately 60 riders in two different groups during the event and added that around 200 people attended the Ramp Festival.
Although Fee said he was pleased with the event, he added that he would like to see more Harlan Countians, including local elected officials, attend the event.
“If we are going to work together then we need to all be together and it seems that nobody takes an interest in it from the county,” Fee said. “I would like to make it bigger and get everybody involved in it.”
The Harlan County Ridge Runners will also be hosting their annual “Lightning Bug” ride this Saturday. Rides both on and off park will be leaving at 5 p.m. from the community campfire in north Evarts. The on-park ride is expected to return around 10 p.m. with the off-park ride expected to return around 2 a.m. or later. Riders are encouraged to bring enough food and gas for a long ride.