The City of Ronceverte is now the home of the newest festival in the region – the Ronceverte Food Truck Festival! With food trucks, vendors, live music, games for children and adults, a “kid’s zone” and more on Edgar Avenue, the River City will be the place to be on Friday, May 12, from 12 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, May 13, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. An extra day has been added with a pre-festival party set for Thursday, May 11, from 5 to 9 p.m. at The Sportsman Tavern with the grand opening of the Flavor Mutt kitchen!
A raffle elimination drawing will be held on Thursday night starting at 6 p.m., also at The Sportsman, with a total of $5,000 in cash prizes available. 1st place wins $2,000, 2nd place $750, and 3rd through 10th place wins $250! Only 200 tickets will be sold! Get yours for $50/each. Money raised goes directly to supporting the festival. You do not need to be present to win.
(Tickets are not needed to attend the Food Truck Festival!)
Festival organizers Alex DeGraff and Dan Withrow sat down with HashtagWV to talk about the ins and outs of organizing a brand-new festival.
First question: Who are you?
Dan: That’s a loaded question. I’m a born and bred native of Ronceverte. I left for several years but couldn’t wait to get home. Once I got back, I realized the potential we have here, and I got involved as the Director of Parks and Recreation. I’m also a new business owner of a business here in town, The Sportsman Tavern, which we have kinda felt like is going to be a catalyst for a lot of what’s going on in Ronceverte, along with what Alex and her dad, Adam DeGraff, are also doing down here.
Alex: I am born and raised here in the Greenbrier Valley, I live very close to Ronceverte. I was homeschooled and was part of a lot of afterschool programs in the area for a long time, and then I started teaching piano, which is still my full time job. My dad and I looked at the building on Edgar Avenue, which we now own, which got me involved with Ronceverte in way more ways than I could have ever anticipated. Now we’re organizing food truck festivals!
Why did you want to start the Food Truck Festival?
Dan: I think first and foremost, for the benefit of Ronceverte and for people to come to Ronceverte and take a look at everything we have going on, and realize that Ronceverte, in our opinion, is the next small town in this area to prosper. We certainly look to White Sulphur as an inspiration, and Lewisburg as well. White Sulphur has made an amazing recovery and we just felt, why not Ronceverte? With Lewisburg not allowing food trucks at this point, and White Sulphur having only occasional events with trucks, we feel like the advantage that Ronceverte has is just the general layout of the town. We can block off Edgar Avenue without much interference.
Alex: Personally, I want to bring as many people as I can to Ronceverte, as well as keep as many people that are already here in Ronceverte. I think that there is no better way of doing that than hosting something that is accessible to all ages, any financial status, really just anyone who wants to come and be a part of it. Our town has the perfect layout for a street fair like a food truck festival, and we have the ability to work with our wonderful city representatives who want everything we want for Ronceverte, as well. I guess, why NOT a food truck festival?
What are your favorite parts about Ronceverte?
Dan: First and foremost, the people. The other exciting thing for me is after seeing Ronceverte in its heyday and then seeing it decline, is how the current administration is just a true blessing. They are open-minded, progressive, smart, and they are trying to do what’s right for Ronceverte. They truly, just like so many of us, have a love and a passion for Ronceverte.
Alex: I agree with Dan, the people down here are incredible. The administration is so easy to work with. They are just as inspired and excited as we are. The City has something just so special about it with the river, the layout, and the buildings down here. You walk into an old Ronceverte building and it’s just incredible, old but beautiful, and something you want to continue to see improved and revitalized. Growing up here I saw Ronceverte at some of its lowest points, but seeing is be enlivened the way it has over the last several years is inspiring, and I love being a part of it.
What is one main thing you want everyone to know about Ronceverte/the Food Truck Festival?
Dan: With Ronceverte, it’s that we’re on the move. We are starting to become the next little town that’s starting to thrive. I think the festival will truly be unlike anything that’s ever happened here with the music and the arts and crafts vendors. We actually had to cut the vendors off after so many! We have 8-9 food trucks coming. I think the exciting thing is, as Alex said earlier, is we have something for everybody. We are really excited about the Kid’s Zone, we’re going to have bouncy houses, cornhole for the kids, just a multitude of different games. Alex and I really want Ronceverte to become a place that when parents ask their kids, “Where to you want to go?” They say, “Ronceverte!”
Alex: The one thing I’d want people to know is just: its happening. You come down here and it is changing, and it’s maintaining all the wonderful things Ronceverte already has to offer, but it’s becoming a place where kids are going to want to spend the day. We want to have a lot to do, and be full and exciting. I’ll overhear conversations about Ronceverte, and they aren’t always good things, and in my mind I’m sitting there thinking “just you wait!” It’s already changing, it’s happening, it’s going to keep happening.
What trucks are coming to the festival?
Expect to see When Pigs Fly, Dawg Haus, Jimmy D’s Shuck Shack, Dippin’ Dots, Greenbrier Dairy, Rolling Stove, Waffle Wagon, and more!
What live music will there be?
With both two stages set up for live music, there will be a variety of genres for all listeners. On the set list are Lillie King, Thomas Taylor, Allen Sizemore, and Of The Dell, along with OneDayNow, Will Sarver, Bryce George, and others.
How can someone volunteer at the festival?
Reach out to Dan at 304-646-0573, or Alex at 304-667-4062.
When will the festival be back?
Dan and Alex report that if you can’t make the first festival, don’t sweat it! New trucks will be in on June 16 and 17 (to coincide with the Red Nose River Float), July 14 and 15 (to coincide with the Skyline Bluegrass Festival), and Aug. 4 and 5!