Best of the Fest: Don’t Miss These Unique West Virginia Festivals
Bridge Day draws adventure-seekers from across the globe to southern West Virginia, but it's not the only unique event you'll find there. We rounded up a list of the state's most intriguing festivals. Here are some reasons you'll want to try each of them at least once in your life:
Feast of the Ramson
This interesting celebration focuses on ramps. Do you know what a ramp is? The easiest way to learn is to smell one. A stinky onion, the ramp has a bold flavor and a "foot-like" smell just as strong. The self-proclaimed ramp capitol of the world and home of the National Ramp Association, Richwood's Chamber of Commerce works for nearly a week to prepare a massive ramp feast and partyevery spring, complete with music, dancing, an Appalachian art show and recipe contest.
Hometown Mountain Heritage Festival
Appalachian culture developed around its unique landscape, creating a little pocket of mountain-locked folks who used their resources to build a lifestyle all its own. Ansted's Hometown Mountain Heritage Festival is a great showcase of the wonderful spirit that is so central to West Virginia culture.
With a community-minded focus, you can rub elbows with your neighbors at the table of large group meals of beans and cornbread or spaghetti, then check out the demonstrations of traditional mountain crafting. Challenge your friends to horseshoes, extending a friendly wager — winner 'buys' the ice cream (it's actually free for everyone, even for the horseshoe-challenged).
New River Gorge Challenge Weekend
It's a triathlon for the challenger who finds triathlons too boring. Fight through nearly 30 miles of wilderness, mountain biking, whitewater paddling and running. Not just for seasoned athletes, the event includes a more family-friendly second day of racing that focuses on beginners' trails that are easy for the kids to try out.
Grape Stompin' Festival
If you want a really unique experience while you're in West Virginia, kick off your shoes and squeeze some grapes through those piggies. You can actually step into a vat of wine grapes at this annual Kirkwood Winery festival. If you'd rather keep your toes clean, you can also sample the more than 40 wines and spirits and check out traditional West Virginia crafts and music.
Traditionally a kayaking festival on the third weekend of September, you'll see boats chained to the fence as you enter the gates of Gauley Fest. They're all for sale, and you can find great deals on not only boats, but all of the accessories you need to take up this exciting hobby. There are giveaways all weekend, and kayaking pros from across the globe. The event is a fundraiser for the American Whitewater Association, and includes a race on the World-famous Upper Gauley, some of the most thrilling whitewater anywhere.
What's your favorite WV festival (besides Bridge Day, of course)?