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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 fall kickoff to Kentucky’s political season until 1931, when A. B. “Happy” Chandler made an appearance while campaigning for lieutenant governor.

Large crowds are the norm for Fancy Farm picnics. Gov. Matt Bevin has confirmed he will be there this summer on Aug. 3. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

Now, Fancy Farm’s normal population of 458, according to the 2010 Census, swells by more than 10,000 for that one day.

In recent years, Fancy Farm organizers alternated between Democratic and Republican emcees for the political stump speaking, but this year will feature a retired broadcaster. Bill Goodman spent 20 years hosting “Kentucky Tonight” and other programs on KET before he retired at the end of 2016, to become executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council.

Mark Wilson, political chairman of the Fancy Farm Picnic, says Gov. Bevin, who has not attended the event since running for his first term in 2015, will be there, along with his new running mate, state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester. Current Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton has said she will not be there.

The Democratic gubernatorial slate of Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman has not yet confirmed whether they will appear.

Others who have confirmed their attendance include Republican secretary of state candidate Mike Adams, Democratic state auditor candidate Sheri Donahue, Republican Treasurer Allison Ball and both candidates for the non-partisan 1st District Supreme Court seat in western Kentucky, Appeals Court Judge Shea Nickell and state Sen. Whitney Westerfield.

As is traditional at Fancy Farm, the community’s legislative members, Congressman James Comer, State Sen. Stan Humphries and State Rep. Richard Heath, will also speak.

There have been no confirmations thus far from U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, neither candidate for attorney general and agriculture commissioner, Democratic secretary of state candidate Heather French Henry, Republican State Auditor Mike Harmon, or Democratic state treasurer candidate Michael Bowman.

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