FLAG POND — For the past week or so, members of the Flag Pond Ruritan Club have been harvesting wild leeks in preparation for the hungry masses who will descend upon Flag Pond this weekend.
“You don’t need to get them too early,” said the club’s treasurer Edgar Rice.
The Ruritan Club’s hours of work scouring the mountains of Unicoi County in search of ramps will culminate with the 27th annual Flag Pond Ramp Festival, which is set for Saturday.
The festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the old Flag Pond School. The event is sponsored by the Flag Pond Ruritan Club and serves as the organization’s largest fundraiser. Ruritan Club President Richard Waldrop said the event had humble beginnings, but has grown over the years to typically draw around 1,000 attendees annually.
“It started off real slow and just kept getting bigger and bigger,” he said.
Dishes of ramps and potatoes, along with beans and bacon, will be sold for $7. Dishes also will be prepared without ramps and hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for those not interested in dining on the wild leeks, which have been described as “stronger than onions.”
The event will also feature entertainment, dancing and music throughout the day, including performances by the Spivey Mountain Boys and Moore Brothers.
Admission to the festival is free, and Waldrop said donations can be made to the Ruritan Club to serve as parking fees.
To get to the festival, take Exit 50 off Interstate 26. Turn left at the stop sign and then right at the next stop sign. The old Flag Pond School will be on the right.