Ramp Romp originates out of need for fire protection
The Ramp Romp, Singhampton’s annual fundraising feast, is May 12. This is an account of the community event prepared for the 16th anniversary. The event is now in its 33rd year.
Each spring for the past 16 years, hundreds of individuals and thousands of wild leeks come together in Singhampton. They do so at the village’s Ramp Romp, a celebration of wild leeks for a very worthy cause. The story of the Ramp Romp’s beginnings, the annual rituals and the result of this community effort is a story worth telling.
In response to an incident in Singhampton in 1983, a group of concerned local residents created the Fire Prevention Committee. At that time, fire and emergency response came from too far away and was most often too late. The committee established the Ramp Romp as a fundraiser and awareness raiser to pursue the dream of more timely fire and emergency response for the community. Ramp Romp funds initially provided for emergency relief, fire extinguishers and a siren system. Since those first steps, the energy and perseverance of countless community minded volunteers have helped to make the dream of better fire protection a reality. The Ramp Romp has been a crucial part of realizing that dream. How does the annual ritual of the Ramp Romp happen? Read on.
The earthly ritual
Spring arrives in the Singhampton area, usually twice. A date is set for the Ramp Romp, often twice. The brave and tireless leek pickers enter the moist maple forest, more than twice. And the leeks they dig. And the leeks they pick. And the leek digging and picking is a task, for sure. But it is a task with purpose. And they return to the village with nature’s springtime treasure. The green treasure’s aroma begins to permeate the village. The ritual of harvesting the ramps is complete.
In the evening, for many evenings, the brave treasure cleaners carefully clean and wash thousands of leeks. And the leeks they clean. And the leeks they wash. And the cleaning and washing are tasks, no doubt. But they are tasks with purpose. The pungent aroma of the clean, green treasure, the wild leeks, gets carried farther around the village.
While the harvest takes place, key members of the community are busy posting posters and signs, planning and enlisting volunteers for other tasks on the day of the Ramp Romp. Word of the event gets carried to many neighbouring communities.
The aromatic event
The day of the Ramp Romp arrives. Many arrangers, gatherers, cooks, bakers, cutters and the like have already been busy with myriad tasks.
A typical Ramp Romp dinner feeds over 330 folk. To do this, statistically speaking, requires 154 pounds of roast pork, 59 kgs of scalloped potatoes, 1,300 ounces of beans, 8.5 litres of applesauce, 5.25 cubic feet of dinner rolls, hundreds of pickles, and variable volumes of mustard, apple juice and so forth. Central to the meal are an estimated 24,636 steamed leeks and 2,802 marinated ramps. For dessert – over 60 homemade pies. To feed 330 at the centre also requires many servers, cleaners and the like, and a healthy amount of cooperation. This culinary collaboration always takes place in an atmosphere of distinction – the aroma of the ramps has reached a peak.
Folk young and old, from the local community and far away, join in the springtime feast. They eat. They socialize. They play. They share winter stories and springtime hopes. They enjoy. They share the taste and aroma of wild leeks, a natural spring tonic, and most of them take it home with them. If appetite and diet allows, they indulge in some very fine pie.
Then feast gives way to frolic as the dance, the Romp, begins. Many take this Romp opportunity to socialize further. Many just like to dance. Some seem to dance with purpose, others imagine that it is a way to wear off some pie. Romp purpose aside, one thing is certain: the sweet aroma is now deeply rooted in the community centre and neighbourhood. The proceeds, too, shall go to the centre and neighbourhood, in the form of better fire protection.
The superb effect
Singhampton’s volunteer firefighters, of Clearview Station 5, have been on call since 1992. Since then, many additions have been made to firefighting and emergency equipment that these community members use. The Jaws of Life, an electrical generator, a portable water pump and 1,000 gallon tank, and a smoke ejector fan among these additions. A great deal of time has been spent in training as well: typically, each firefighter spends 50 hours per year.
In 1999, Station 5 responded to 22 calls. Like those who began the quest for better fire protection, these individuals have given a great deal of their time and energy.
The greater Singhampton community has realized the dream of better fire protection. This accomplishment has taken tireless effort and countless individuals, working as a team. As you raise that forkful of leeks or pie to your lips, think. Think of the dreamers. Think of the many who have made this event successful, and who have helped make the dream a reality. Think of the volunteer firefighters. Enjoy that forkful and give thanks.
Thank you all for coming to the Ramp Romp.