ELKINS — The 2021 Annual Ramps and Rail Festival is the latest event to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to cancel the festival, which has become a tradition in the Elkins Town Square, was based on the uncertainties of COVID-19 and public gatherings in the near future, officials said.
“This was not an easy decision because we know that people depend on the festival for income, entertainment and community connection,” Anne Beardslee, executive director of the Elkins Depot Welcome Center CVB, said Friday.
“To have the festival in April, all the decisions, invitations, booking of bands, vendor registration and arranging for required services need to take place now. We do not know what social distancing will be required in April, how many people will be allowed to attend and have been fully vaccinated, if we would have to limit vendors, etc.
“The fact that we do not have those answers and the trains will not be able to participate due to restricted spaces for passengers, it seemed better to base our decision on caution and public health for 2021. We do not want to risk the health of our volunteers and the community population,” Beardslee said.
The next Ramps and Rail Festival is now set for April 23, 2022, officials said.
The event was also canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event’s traditions include food vendors concocting delicious ramp-themed foods, like ramp burgers, ramperoni rolls, ramp chili and ramp risotto with shrimp. The festival usually features 50 different food and craft booths The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad traditionally offers train rides to those who want to take one of the first rides of the year during the festival.