Ramp Festival a celebration of traditional mountain food, music and fellowship

Sue Guinn Legg • May 8, 2018 at 4:17 PM

FLAG POND - The tiny mountain community of Flag Pond will welcome a crowd of guests that annually rivals its own population Saturday, May 12, as residents of several surrounding states gather in for the 33rd annual Flag Pond Ramp Festival.

A day of traditional Appalachian food, fellowship, music and games, the festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Flag Pond Community Center on Old Asheville Highway.

At the center of the festival will be the wild and pungent mountain leeks that have bringing people to Flag Pond for more than three decades.

The Flag Pond Ruritan, which hosts the festival, will begin dishing up plates of fried potatoes and ramps seasoned with bacon drippings, soup beans, coleslaw, cornbread and bacon with homemade desserts and drinks on the side starting at 11:30 a.m. For the less adventurous festival goers grilled hotdogs and hamburgers will also be available.

New this year, food service will be set up inside the gymnasium of the old Flag Pond school converted by the club into to a center for community activities. A new 30- by 60-foot pavilion built by the club members will provide a shady spot for outdoor dining.

Live music will be performed throughout the day by local bluegrass artists including the Unicoi High School Bluegrass Band, the Spivey Mountain Boys, The Flag Ponderers and others.

This year’s festival will also include a local craft bizarre featuring handmade pottery and ceramic jewelry, watercolor prints, homemade soaps, essential oils and organic salves. Silk flower arrangements, Avon products, mini-journals, books by local author Elizabeth Buttke and festival hats and T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

A display of historical relics, mementos and photographs illustrating the history of Flag Pond and the surrounding area will be displayed in a Memory Room set up in the old the school building.

Fresh ramps gathered from the slopes of the nearby mountains will be available for purchase. And for a test of the vim, vigor and stamina ramps are said to instill, a ramp eating contest will be conducted. Contenders must be registered by 1 p.m.

For those who wish to work off their dinner, a festival cornhole tournament will be held and the community center playground and walking trail will be open.

Door prizes will be drawn and contest awards will be presented in the afternoon.

Vendors booths are still available and may be rented for the day by contacting club member Barbara Desso at 423-735-7355.

All proceeds from the festival will be used for scholarships and community needs and projects supported by the Ruritan.

More information about the festival and the Flag Pond Ruritan may be obtained by contacting club President Richard Waldrop at 423-743-3430.

The community center is located about one mile from Exit 50 of Interstate 26. Festival goers should turn left onto Upper Higgins Creek Road at the end of the exit ramp and travel about a half mile to the stop sign at Old Asheville Highway, turn right and continue another half mile to the old school building on the right.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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