Fancy Farm Picnic

John Paul Henry

Organizers expect a larger than usual crowd at this weekend's Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County. The 134 year-old event has evolved from old-timey political stump speeches to a shout-fest as spectators try to overpower the speaker.

In 1975 the Fancy Farm Picnic was a little more refined. In fact, it was quiet enough to hear a flash bulb pop during then-Presidential Candidate George Wallace’s speech. Wallace survived an assassination attempt in 1972 that left him paralyzed below the waist.

Alix Mattingly/WFPL News

On the road to this weekend's Fancy Farm political picnic, there are detours.

One is the Dainty contest, a unique annual sports event in Louisville’s Schnitzelburg neighborhood that draws local and statewide politicians.

In the run up to Fancy Farm, the Dainty has served as a kind of roadside attraction. Candidates rub elbows with prospective voters in an attempt to energize the base in one of Kentucky's most solidly working-class Democratic strongholds.

WKMS File Photo

The 134th Fancy Farm Picnic is now just a little more than two weeks away and the line-up of speakers is almost complete.

The politicians had their time behind the podium at Saturday’s Fancy Farm Picnic. The crowd's chants were heard en-masse. But, individual's cast ballots. So, contributing Producer John Paul Henry spoke with some Fancy Farm attendees away from the political speaking and asked them two questions:

  • How has the Government affected you in the last year, good or bad?
  • What value do you think the stump speeches at Fancy Farm add to the political process?

Hear their answers:

KY Department of Agriculture

Kentucky won’t elect its next governor for more than two years. But Republican Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer all but declared his candidacy at Saturday’s Fancy Farm Picnic, stopping just short of an official announcement.

John Paul Henry

The 133rd Fancy Farm Picnic was held this weekend in Graves County. Up until just a few weeks ago, many would have expected an off-year for the political event. But with high profile entrances into the 2014 U.S. Senate race,  it can perhaps be said now there are no “off-years” at Fancy Farm.

WKMS/John Null

After the successful passage of his Industrial Hemp Bill this year, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer is staying tight-lipped about his plans for the next legislative session, but Comer says rural economic development efforts need to be refocused around agriculture.

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Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is the presumptive favorite to win next May’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, but like Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, it seems she will face more than a token primary challenge.

John Paul Henry

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin brought day two of his campaign announcement tour to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah Thursday.

The Louisville businessman was born in Colorado and raised in New Hampshire. Bevin is hoping to unseat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in next May’s Republican primary.

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Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will skip next week's Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County. Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said they're unable to go.

Last year, Abramson received criticism for questioning the relevancy of the political event.

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