What’s the Deal with Fancy Farm?

Cassie Lyles

You’ve probably seen the buzz online from JCTA or the 120, maybe some other groups you are connected to about a little event that will take place on August 3rd in Fancy Farm, Kentucky.  You might wonder why on earth a little church picnic so far west would matter to politics in Kentucky, but for those of us who have been political junkies all along know that if you want to be seriously considered as a candidate in Kentucky, you have to be brave enough to take the stage at this heated event.   When Governor Bevin did not show up last year, it was taken as quite the insult.

Kentucky has a long history of intense politics.  Since 1880 St. Jerome’s Parish in Graves County has hosted the Fancy Farm Picnic as a fundraiser.  In the beginning, politicians would simply mingle with attendees, but that grew into one of the most important political speaking events in the state, due to its original timing right before primaries.  Democrats sit to the left side, Republics to the right, and the past several years, Libertarians have made a showing, sitting toward the middle back. You have to get there extremely early to get a seat under the awning, but bring a lawn chair and there’s plenty of space surrounding the pavilion.  The quips and jabs, cheering and jeering involved in this even are infamous. Last year, Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes started her speech by saying, “It’s a hot one folks. People are sweating here today like Matt Bevin at a KEA meeting.” This is just a sample of the kind of shade that is thrown.  Check out her whole speech:

Alison Lunderan Grimes’s 2018 Fancy Farm Speech

The speakers list for this year is posted on Fancy Farm Politics Facebook page and is shown here.  

It’s not just a political event, however.  There is also bingo, various races, and most importantly some seriously good barbeque.  Seriously, don’t sleep on the buffet lunch that the parish puts together, especially the lima beans and homemade pies.  This event is one that you really need to experience for yourself, and this is definitely the year to do it. Western Kentucky is beautiful, and the energy you will take away is surreal.  Show up and make it known that we are going to do the work for the elections in November. Then, do the work. So much is on the line. You might be inspired to volunteer for a campaign or hear something that helps you explain to your friends and family why they should vote for public education candidates.  It’s a long drive, but it is worth it.

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