Fancy Farm Picnic is some-more than only grill | News …

August 3, 2017 - Picnic Time

FRANKFORT — Some go for a barbecue, others for a domestic branch vocalization and spectacle.

But according to a male in assign of a domestic speaking, Mark Wilson, there’s even a psychic advantage to a annual Fancy Farm Picnic in distant western Kentucky on a initial Saturday of Aug when a feverishness and steam mostly feel hellish.

“If you’re innate and lifted in Fancy Farm and you’re going to get to heaven, afterwards we improved work during a Fancy Farm Picnic,” pronounced Wilson, chuckling. “If we don’t, that’s a mortal impiety down here.”

Down here is a small bucolic village usually west of Mayfield in Graves County, a village of roughly 500 people, many of whom attend St. Jerome’s Catholic Church. The cruise is a annual bishopric fundraiser that attracts as many as 15,000 people and facilities a egotistic domestic branch vocalization that traditionally kicks off a campaign, yet this is a non-election year.

Volunteers grill 19,000 pounds of pork, mutton and chicken, prepare locally grown vegetables and bake homemade pies and cakes, all of that attract profitable customers. There’s a raffle for a new automobile or truck, bingo stands and games for children.

But outsiders know Fancy Farm for a domestic lecture where politicians and supporters trade insults that have transposed a some-more trusting time when they intent some-more in wit and humorous putdowns.

The rough atmosphere attracts a media, pronounced Greg Higdon, who volunteers in a grill pits and was a state senator from 1981 to 1991. That in spin helps pull crowds to a fundraiser.

“The cruise has gotten some-more out of that broadside than a politicians have gotten out of a picnic,” Higdon said.

Indeed pronounced Bill Cunningham, a state Supreme Court Justice and maestro of Fancy Farm picnics, a politician competence not win an choosing during Fancy Farm though competence remove one with a vital gaffe during his time during a microphone.

Cunningham served as orator in 2014 when he, a internal preaching and cruise organizers sought to tamp down a crowds.

He began by reminding a throng they were there to “brush shoulders with story and all we ask we to do is leave your bad manners during a door.”

People should hearten when they hear something they like and disapprove when they hear things they don’t like, Cunningham said, “but when you’ve finished that, close up” so speakers can speak.

The cruise has been going on given a 1880s, though a domestic vocalization began when Alben Barkley and Albert “Happy” Chandler saw it as an event to debate in a 1930s.

“Now, we can’t cruise a run for statewide bureau if we aren’t during Fancy Farm,” pronounced Cynthia Elder, who volunteers during a cruise and has authored dual books about it: “Fancy Farm Living Is a Life for Me” and “The Catholic Settlement.”

Like Wilson, Higdon grew adult in Fancy Farm. As a child, he wandered a drift with his eruption gun, afterwards as a teen, he volunteered during a day before going home to wash and change clothes, returning “to see if we could get a lady to go over to a cemetery and take a kiss.”

“Later, we remember being vacant that we was station there on that theatre as a domestic figure,” Higdon said.

Most Fancy Farm veterans have a favorite impulse or speaker. For Wilson, that’s Wendell Ford, a former Democratic administrator and U.S. Senator.

“It didn’t matter what domestic coterie we were,” Wilson said, “everybody had to hear Wendell. He was in his component during Fancy Farm and he desired Fancy Farm.”

Ford famously referred to Republican Ernie Fletcher’s endless resume during Fletcher’s 2003 competition for governor, job him a commander though a plane, a alloy though patients, a reverend though a assemblage and a claimant though a plan.

Wilson, Cunningham and Elder vividly remember a year George Wallace spoke from his wheelchair, carrying been partially inept by a unsuccessful assassination attempt. Twice as he spoke, photographers’ flashbulbs popped, causing Wallace to wince visibly any time.

This year’s orator is former Democratic Speaker of a House, Glasgow attorney, wit and storyteller Bobby Richardson. He’s a fan of Chandler and Ford, though conjunction is his favorite Fancy Farm speaker.

“Well now, my favorite orator down there was me,” he quipped with a laugh.

His favorite memory involves Chandler vocalization in 1980, early in a tenure of Gov. John Y. Brown.

Brown, who desired to transport by helicopter, succeeded Gov. Julian Carroll who was criticized during a 1979 debate for complicated use of state airplanes by another Democratic primary candidate, state auditor George Atkins.

The subsequent year, in 1980 with Atkins seated usually feet away, Chandler was vocalization when he was interrupted by a whisk and breeze and sound of Brown’s helicopter environment down usually a few yards from a vocalization stand.

“Chandler stopped in a center of his debate and looked during that helicopter, and afterwards he said: ‘If George Atkins were still alive, that would never have happened,’” Richardson recalled.

By any standard, a Fancy Farm Picnic is special and singular to western Kentucky.

“It’s a possess Kentucky Derby,” Cunningham said. “It’s a usually time we get a rest of Kentucky entrance to see us and we unequivocally suffer it.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is formed in Frankfort. Reach him during Follow him on Twitter @cnhifrankfort.

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