The Harlan County Ridge Runners (HCRR) will host the ninth annual Ramp Festival April 20 at the north Evarts RV Campground.
Rides will begin at 9 a.m. Food will be served at 5 p.m.
“Nobody knows just how much work goes into having an event like a Ramp Festival,” said HCRR President Bill Troutman. “It all begins months in advance getting prepared to host a big gathering, which has grown over the past eight years. You have to have a planning stage and hope you can pick a date and time that the weather will be good and the ramps have come up so they will still be tender. You always have to make sure you have enough for all to enjoy.”
Troutman said they have gone from 10 gallons of ramps the first year to approximately 25 gallons of ramps last year.
“We may have to go to 30 gallons this year with all the advance Internet chatter and local talk as well,” said Troutman. “With the economy the way it is you never know how many will attend as we have had from a little over 200 one year to over 600 in another year.”
Troutman said there are several good places to dig ramps, but they always try to find different locations as to not deplete the crop.
“Once the ramps are dug, they are brought back to the campground where they are washed and cleaned, cut up and put in freezer bags and put in the refrigerator until cooking time,” said Troutman. “Ramps are always better cooked with bacon drippings, and I will admit until last year I had never tried them.”
Along with the ramps, there will be fried potatoes, polish sausage, soup beans, fried cornbread fritters, fried corn and salmon patties, along with hot dogs and cooked cabbage as well.
“Just don’t stand in Harlan District Court Judge Jeff Brock’s way if we fix the cabbage,” said Troutman. “Judge Brock has been a regular attendee as long as I remember and enjoys himself as well. It would be nice for more county officials to attend so they can meet with their contingents and get an idea of what adventure tourism is all about. They could mingle with some of the out-of-town people and see what more could be done to help bring more people to the county and why these people still love to come here as well.”
Troutman said after everyone has been served a meal, a “roaring campfire” will be lit and the crowd will be able to sit down and listen to the oldie sounds of Big Daddy and the Heat.
“So, if you’re looking for something to do or somewhere to go on April 20, just head on up to Evarts toward the campground — above the football field where you’ll meet and greet a lot of different people and enjoy the fellowship that will be there with lots of fun,” said Troutman. “If you can’t find it, just roll down the window and follow the smell of wild onions cooking.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, email@example.com