Fancy Farm Picnic

Fancy Farm Picnic (Google Maps)
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By kjfitz @ 2009-05-23 18:32:36
Site of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic, famous as a traditional political gathering attracting statewide and occasionally national candidates. The picnic began in 1880 as a purely local affair. It takes place mostly on the grounds of Fancy Farm Elementary School. Since 1956 it has been held on the first Saturday in August. It has come to represent the traditional starting point of the fall campaign season in Kentucky.

The picnic was of purely local interest until A.B. "Happy" Chandler began making appearances, going for the first time in 1931 while running for Lieutenant Governor.

So many Kentucky politicians attend that it tends to only be news when a major politician decides not to make an appearance, such as senator Jim Bunning in 2007. National figures that have made speeches include George C. Wallace and Al Gore. Vice President Alben Barkley, known for his oratorical skills, spoke many times over the years before his death in 1956. He was born nearby in a small community called Wheel.

In addition to the political appearances, the picnic offers traditional fair activities like bingo games and raffle prizes. Food includes barbecue, a Knights of Columbus fish fry and homemade baked goods.

The event was recognized in the 1985 Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Largest Picnic", for the consumption of 15,000 pounds of mutton, pork, and chicken at the 1982 picnic.

The picnic is profitable and proceeds are used to finance local improvements. No outside vendors participate, and about 12,000 to 15,000 people attend each year.
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