A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: We learned some meaningful things at Fancy Farm; raucous crowd tells us something too

FANCY FARM, Ky. – For all its hoopla, the political speaking at the Fancy Farm Picnic rarely has much effect on statewide elections. But it always provides a unique measurement of the candidates, their campaigns and their prospects, and this year’s version told us some meaningful things about Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and his challenger, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. The speaking has...

McConnell waves Republican Banner, praises Ky. Republicans, Trump during Fancy Farm speech

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was effusive in his praise of Kentucky Republicans during his speech at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic and political speaking in western Kentucky on Saturday. “Under President Trump, Gov. Bevin and our united Republican leadership, Kentucky is leading the way,” he said. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the podium...

Fancy Farm this Saturday kicks off political season, focus on gubernatorial candidates; election Nov. 5

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Expect some fancy talking at the Fancy Farm picnic Saturday in western Kentucky as the fall political campaign season gets off to a rousing start.

 Much of the spotlight will be on the gubernatorial race with incumbent Republican Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. They will have eight minutes apiece to bend the ears of an audience that knows how...

Kentucky’s political tradition, Fancy Farm, coming up on Aug. 3 — here’s the lineup so far

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Six-minute speeches from gubernatorial candidates Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear highlight a long list of speakers at the much-anticipated Fancy Farm picnic on Aug. 3. The speaking order is set for next month’s political speaking event that is traditionally the kickoff for the fall campaign in Kentucky. Fancy Farm file photo by Tom Latek/Kentucky Today The...

Governor Matt Bevin among first confirmed to speak at August 3 Fancy Farm Picnic in Western Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The first list of confirmed speakers at this summer’s Fancy Farm political stump speaking has been released and Gov. Matt Bevin is among those confirmed to attend. The Fancy Farm Picnic takes place on Saturday, Aug. 3, at St. Jerome’s Church in far western Kentucky, as it has since 1880, serving lots of barbeque as a church fundraiser. It did not begin serving as the...

History-making Senator Mitch McConnell tells Fancy Farm faithful he intends to run again in 2020

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Already the longest-serving Republican leader ever in the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to cement his place in history with yet another term. McConnell, 76, told GOP faithful in western Kentucky on Saturday that he will run for re-election in 2020. “I don’t like starting late,” he said. McConnell, the architect of a Republican resurgence...

Quarles says being master of ceremonies at annual Fancy Farm picnic is a ‘dream come true’

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky’s annual premier political event happens this weekend in a small western Kentucky community and the man who has the job of master of ceremonies is busy preparing. 
The Fancy Farm Picnic takes place on Saturday at St. Jerome’s Church, as it has since 1880, although it did not begin serving as the fall kickoff to Kentucky’s political season until 1931, when...

KET to air live coverage of Fancy Farm picnic; Kentucky’s premier political event begins Aug. 5

KET will provide comprehensive coverage of Fancy Farm 2017, the state’s premier political event. The network will present both live and highlighted coverage of the event. Live coverage of Fancy Farm 2017, hosted by KET’s Casey Parker-Bell, begins Saturday, Aug. 5 at 3/2 pm on KET and online at KET.org. Live coverage continues through 5/4 pm, and the afternoon’s political stump speeches will...

Fancy Farm ritual coming up next week — even without major elections, lots of hot air and barbecue

By Ryland Barton Kentucky Public Radio The annual Fancy Farm picnic and political speaking event takes place next week in far-west Kentucky’s Graves County. Though no major elections are scheduled to take place this year, state political leaders will still roll up their shirt sleeves and hurl insults at each other during the 137th iteration of the charity event. Gov. Matt Bevin has declined an invitation...

Bevin opts out of appearance at Fancy Farm picnic, but attorney general Beshear will be on hand

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Republican Gov. Matt Bevin will not be adding any sizzle to the always fiery speeches that will be delivered in this tiny western Kentucky town next month. Bevin will skip the annual Fancy Farm picnic this year, citing a schedule conflict. But his Democratic nemesis, Attorney General Andy Beshear, will be there. The pair have been embroiled in an ongoing political tussle...

Commentary: Fancy Farm MC’s introductions continue Kentucky’s long-time political ritual

By Scott Jennings Special to KyForward Text of Scott Jennings introduction to Saturday’s Fancy Farm political speeches program: Thank you Mark and Father Venters, and welcome, everyone to the 136th annual Fancy Farm picnic! How about a round of applause for Mark and Lori Wilson … another great job, guys, thanks for what you do. What an honor it is to be here! I love this event and I look forward...

Bill Straub: Ailing Wendell Ford was last
of his kind in political style and substance

It’s never been hard to tell when Wendell Ford is around.   First there was the cloud of cigarette smoke that trailed him like the cloud of dust that followed Pigpen in the “Peanuts” comic strip. As almost every political reporter can attest, any attempt to pose a question to the legendary former Kentucky governor and U.S. Senator was quickly met with the rejoinder, “Let’s step outside...

Bill Straub: Ailing Wendell Ford was last of his kind in political style and substance

It’s never been hard to tell when Wendell Ford is around.   First there was the cloud of cigarette smoke that trailed him like the cloud of dust that followed Pigpen in the “Peanuts” comic strip. As almost every political reporter can attest, any attempt to pose a question to the legendary former Kentucky governor and U.S. Senator was quickly met with the rejoinder, “Let’s step outside...

Twitter controversy erupts over ‘poor choice of words’ by Covington political strategist

Kathy Groob (Photo from RCN/Facebook)   By Michael Monks Special to KyForward   Fancy Farm is a Kentucky political event known for verbal lobs hurled from its rustic stage in the middle of a small Catholic parish’s picnic grounds in far Western Kentucky.   But Saturday’s event saw controversy prior to candidates for U.S. Senate and other offices took to the podium. Covington...

Doug Alexander: Fancy Farm should go back to being a ‘barn dance, picnic, gander pulling’

I knew a good church picnic long before I knew anything about politics.   Growing up in Owensboro I could go to a different Catholic church festival every weekend in and around Daviess County and for two dollars eat my fill of the best barbecue in the world then see a movie for quarter. That was dinner and a movie for $4.50 if I could get a date.   The barbecue cost more by the time I went...

Doug Alexander: Fancy Farm should go back to being a 'barn dance, picnic, gander pulling'

I knew a good church picnic long before I knew anything about politics.   Growing up in Owensboro I could go to a different Catholic church festival every weekend in and around Daviess County and for two dollars eat my fill of the best barbecue in the world then see a movie for quarter. That was dinner and a movie for $4.50 if I could get a date.   The barbecue cost more by the time I went...

Fancy Farm in Photos: Transforming a tiny town and a picnic into a raucous yearly event

On the first Saturday in August, the tiny town of Fancy Farm in Western Kentucky is transformed into a political hotspot. This year was no exception.   Story and photos by Michael Monks Special to KyForward   The tiny town of Fancy Farm in Western Kentucky looks like one of the quietest places on Earth for 364 days of the year. But on the first Saturday in August it is a raucous and must-attend...