Ramp festival is Sunday in Whitetop

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Most events don't want to leave a bad taste in your mouth, but that's kind of the point at the annual wild onion eating contest.


WHITETOP — The annual Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival will be held May 15 on the grounds of the Mount Rogers Volunteer Fire Department in Whitetop.
The festival gets underway at 11 a.m. and continues throughout the day. It includes arts and crafts, old-time and bluegrass music, food and the highlight of the day — the ramp eating contest.
(Ramps are a savory wild plant in the onion family, delicious when cooked but hard to swallow raw and in large numbers, as the contest requires.)
A barbecue chicken dinner, with fried potatoes and ramps, green beans and a roll, will be available for $7 for adults and $4 for children. Hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, ice cream, funnel cakes and soft drinks will also be available.
Bands scheduled to perform include Dry Fork, Al Jones and Friends, the Yates Family Acoustic Heritage, Wayne Henderson and Friends, Crooked Road Ramblers, Whitetop Mountain Band, Mount Rogers Ramblers and Loose Strings. A platform will be provided for dancing.


The ramp eating contest begins at 4 p.m. when contestants try to eat as many ramps as possible in three minutes. The adult winner will receive $100 and a large bottle of Scope mouthwash. The second place finisher receives $50 and a large bottle of Scope while the third place winner will receive a Ramp T-shirt and small bottle of Scope.
In the 1-minute children’s competition, prizes of $30, $15 and a free T-shirt along with smaller bottles of Scope will be presented.
Everyone is urged to bring a lawn chair, along with a sweater or blanket and spend the day at the festival.
The Mount Rogers Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad sponsor the annual event as a fund-raising project.
Whitetop is on U.S. 58 west of Independence.