Ramp Festival Set for Mason-Dixon Park in Monongalia County

The ramp will get the star treatment once again at the 29th Annual Ramp Festival this weekend at Mason-Dixon Park in Monongalia County.

The festival, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, promotes the tasty wild plant and will feature annual favorites such as ramp burgers, ramp salad and fried potatoes and ramps, among other culinary treats. There will be fresh ramps on the tables, Dash O’ Ramps seasoning made from dried ramps and complimentary tastings of ramp and dandelion wine by the Kirkwood Winery of Summerville.

Veterans and their spouses might want to take note that they will be able to eat and drink free of charge both days in the Pavilion.

New this year, Mon River Archery will bring along homemade long bow and archery products like brass knock sets and rubber tubing. Owner, Ed Maurin of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, said he has been making bows for the past 34 years, mostly in a shop behind his house.

“When I first started out, it took me more than 30 hours to make a bow,” Maurin said. “Now I can do one in ten hours. People might be interested to know that it takes me longer to put on the finish than to make the bow.”

An archery hunter for 62 years, Maurin, in the early 1990s, sold his bows in four different stores. He’s cut back since and now makes between 20 and 25 each year using woods like osage, curly maple and locust. The bows cost between $450 and $525, but they can also be customized using a color and wood of choice.

From Wellsburg, Britney Hervey-Farris and husband Charlie will be at the festival for the first time selling pure maple syrup, along with maple sugar, maple granola, maple coated nuts and maple fudge along with festival favorite.maple cotton candy.

A family tradition that started 15 years ago as a hobby, their maple syrup making went commercial in 2013. The 1,000 tap Family Roots Farm operation usually produces over 200 gallons of syrup annually. Much of it is tapped on the family’s 200 acre farm, which was homesteaded back in 1775. Hervey-Farris calls herself a 7th generation occupant of the farm.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Britney said.

Coming back to the festival for the seventh year, Dennis Varner of Vienna, Ohio, will set up and display six different types of stainless steel rings in sizes 3 to 16. As the owner of 4 Ever Rings, he will stamp the names, dates and anything else buyers may want on the outside of the rings, which he says are very comfortable and durable.

Currently retired, Varner and his wife, Sandra, sell the rings at craft shows, the Henry Bridge in Washington during the Covered Bridge Festival, the Apple Festival in Houston, Pennsylvania, and the Pumpkin Festival in Hickory, Pennsylvania.

“I got into the ring business because I love talking to people,” Varner said.

In addition to rings, the couple will also bring along an assortment of bracelets and necklaces, all made of stainless steel.

Other vendors at the festival include Angels R Designs, Rozy’s Peppers, Statler’s Baked Goods, Margaret’s Jams and Jellies, Pat’s ramp butter, Toys and Treasures Wooden Toys, JD’s Kettle Korn and GLM Woodworks.

The festival will also spotlight the work of regional artisans and crafters with a variety of musical groups performing live on the Cabin Stage. Event volunteer Connie Ammons has already assembled an interesting list of crafters and demonstrators, including chainsaw carver Tom Hritz of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania blacksmith Gary Shriver, leather and leather crafts, Ken’s wooden toys, Gary’s Woodworks, Country Roads Candle Company, Fish’s Shining Time, Sucker Punch Gourmet Sauces, Hillbilly Spin Art and Sonny’s Peppers.

Trapping supplies will also be featured by Trapper Paul’s Supply House, ABC Humane Animal Trapping and the Northwest West Virginia Trapper Association.

During the festival, the Daughters of the American Revolution will collect donations for this December’s Wreaths Across America program, which honors military veterans by placing a wreath on their grave for the holidays. Attendees can also take home a reminder of the pleasant memories of the day by purchasing a ramp T-shirt and cap.

Toe tapping live music will fill the air and make both days more festive. Saturdays’ lineup includes Matt Sherman at 11 a.m., Roger Cutright at noon, Pastor Al at 1 p.m, Heartbeat at 2 p.m. and the 501 Band from 3 to 5 p.m.

Sunday’s entertainment starts with Matt Sherman at 11 a.m., Shane Masters at noon, Nic a Tyme at 1 p.m., Al Anderson at 2 p.m. and Code Blue from 3 to 5 p.m.

To get to the event, take Interstate 79 to the Mt. Morris exit, then go to Buckeye Road then Creek Road. Follow Creek Road a half-mile to Mason-Dixon Park. There is no entrance fee to the festival and no pets are allowed. For more information, call 304-879-5500.

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