What is Fancy Farm Picnic? A brief history

What is Fancy Farm Picnic? A brief history

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It is not a good idea to miss Fancy Farm. [MUSIC] The Fancy Farm picnic is a church picnic,
like many all over the country, but it has a special feature. It has a political speaking at 2PM,
the first Saturday of every August.>>Fancy Farm actually is a small
community in Graves County, Kentucky. That’s a far western part of the state,
almost near the Mississippi River. It was formed in 1829 by
a group of Roman Catholics. By 1836, they had a church there,
Saint Jerome Catholic Church. In 1881,
the Church started to have annual picnics. They would have fundraisers, and
a lot of the locals would come and a few politicians in the area.>>The speaking was
popularized 50 years later, when Happy Chandler was running for
lieutenant governor. Back in those days, Kentucky held its
primary in August, the first Tuesday in August and the picnic was often
the last big event before the primary.>>The difference at Fancy Farm,
it’s a no holds barred type of speaking, it used to be called stump speaking. When the politicians would get on a stump
and be elevated above the crowd and just raise holy heck, and just say whatever
they want to about their opponents. And some of that tradition still goes on. You’ll hear a lot of barbs,
criticisms, Republicans shooting at Democrats, Democrats shooting
back at the Republican candidates.>>And it’s not really a debate,
it’s more like performance art really. Because you want to get your message out, you want to score some points
against the other side. Fancy Farm has a history of humor and
cutting remarks. But you also have to deal with
the cheering section of the other side and the hecklers of the other side.>>I’ve been the Fancy Farm 40 times. It’s very unique, the dynamics are such
politically that you can screw up. It’s one of those deals where I don’t
necessarily have to win but I can’t lose.>>It really is a test of one’s metal. Can you stand up to number one the heat? It’s always hot. Two, the pressure of
appearing at such an event. And three,
which is unique in American politics, people who dislike you yelling at you,
when you’re trying to make a speech.>>This is the kickoff
of the fall election. Some are more important than others. Some are state elections. Some are national elections. But this is the real kickoff. This is when they get gear,
this is the opening event. This is the the real start.>>You have 12,000 to 15,000
people who will show up to play bingo, to eat the thousands
of pounds of pork and mutton. And to hear the afternoon
political speaking. [MUSIC]

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