Upshur County Public Library ‘ramping up’ for 25th annual fundraiser dinner

For the first time ever, the Board of Directors is seeking business sponsorships

Upshur County Library Director Paul Norko and business manager Connie Cutright

TENNERTON – The Upshur County Public Library is ramping up preparation efforts for its famous fundraiser dinner featuring West Virginia’s wildest onion.

The library’s annual ramp dinner is a quarter of a century old, and for its 25th anniversary, it is seeking business sponsors for the first time ever.

The ramp dinner is set for 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the library in Tennerton.

The annual ramp dinner is the only major fundraiser the library stages every year, and for the first time the library is looking for business sponsors. That’s because the library needs significantly more funding, business manager Connie Cutright told My Buckhannon.

“It’s our only fundraiser,” Cutright said. “It’s just not enough anymore, our income is staying about the same as it’s been for about two years, and our expenses keep going up.”

Director of the Upshur County Public Library Paul Norko said the library has 12 sponsors already because they love the library.

“A lot of these individuals that are sponsoring are what we call ‘power library users,’” Norko said. “They come in a lot and use many of these services and resources that we have and it’s a way for them to give back to the library.”

Cutright said there are different levels of sponsorship, and the library will continue to seek sponsorship through April 16. Tickets cost $25. Advanced reservations are required and need to be made by April 20 by calling the library at 304-473-4219.

“There’s folks that want to support the library, and this is not your traditional ramp dinner,” Cutright said. “It is a gourmet ramp dinner or it’s something different. Our menu has completely changed from previous years.”

Co-owner of Fish Hawk Acres Chef Dale Hawkins is preparing the dinner.

The menu includes: fresh artisan greens tossed with charred ramp and champagne or house vinaigrette, carved roasted pork cutlet with ramp chimichurri and demi (no ramps), oven roasted vegetables (with and without ramps), potato and ramp soup, bacon mac and cheese (with and without ramps), buttermilk bacon and ramp biscuits and dinner rolls with ramp herb butter and rustic apple pie with freshly whipped cream and strawberry and rhubarb crisp.

“I’m pretty sure there isn’t any other library in the state that does their own ramp dinner, so we are unique,” Cutright said. “There’s a lot of spaghetti dinners and steak dinners, but Dale wants to do something with a flair, and I think it’s been working.”

Norko said he hopes the funds made from the dinner will help expand the services the library offers.

“We are hoping to expand our services with some of the money made from the ramp dinner,” he said. “I want new people that don’t usually come into the library to come in and use what we offer because pretty much everything we offer is for free, and we want to continue to do that.”