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That Time I Went To Fancy Farm


It’s not what I typically do on one of my last free weekends of the summer, but this past Saturday I attended the Fancy Farm Picnic, one of Kentucky’s biggest and most important political events.

Now, me and politics go together like Rick Pitino and fidelity, but this year I made the drive to the far southwest corner of the state to support Matt Jones, who served as emcee of the event. (It was also an excuse to go to Patti’s.)

I had no idea what to expect, and I’m still not entirely sure what I watched, but it was a very interesting and eye-opening weekend, to say the least.

So tonight I’d like to share my takeaways from Fancy Farm 2015, my first exploration into Kentucky politics.


Fancy Farm is in the middle of nowhere.

Some would say it’s in BFE.

I’m a Western Kentuckian through and through; been all over the best side of the state in my lifetime. But this was my first trip to the pint-sized community that is Fancy Farm in Graves County, the former record-holder of the “World’s Largest Picnic.”

Outside of the picnic area, you’ll find a post office, church, bank, school, barber shop and fire department. That’s about all I remember seeing on my drives in and out of town.

Definitely no Taco Bell. I double-checked.

It’s full of crazy people.

Listen, I get it: There are several Kentuckians who really get into local and statewide politics. Good for them. That’s their right. Do you. But it takes a certain kind of human being to scream obscenities and other nonsense at the politicians on stage. I don’t have that in me. That takes too much effort. In no scenario will I ever feel the need to scream SCREW YOU! toward someone at a podium inside a barn on scalding hot Saturday afternoon. That takes next level crazy.

And don’t even get me started on the nutcases dressed in full-body chicken and corn on the cob costumes. That’s savage life. No regard for their own well-being. It was 10,000 degrees outside and you could boil water in my underwear, and those overachievers were out there battling hyperthermia like the San Diego Padres mascot during a July doubleheader.

I couldn’t stop laughing at Ryan in that stupid hat.

As soon as we found the Uncle Sam hat on RunSwitch PR’s tour bus, we knew Ryan had to wear it while sitting behind the governor on stage.

And because he’s Ryan, all it took was a simple: “Hey Ryan, wear this hat on stage.”

It wasn’t a tough sell.

Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin looked like they wanted to kill Matt Jones.

Matt did an excellent job emceeing the event, turning his allotted five-minute introduction into ten minutes of roasting each side of the stage. Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin seemed to get the worst of Matt’s onslaught, and if looks could kill, the two Republicans would be wanted for the murder of your favorite radio host.

The only person who hated the jabs worse than those two was Bevin’s wife. I thought for sure she would hop up and RKO the next person who talked bad about her husband off the front of the stage. She didn’t bother faking a smile at any point. She was too busy counting how many steps were between her and the podium for her attack. I’m shocked we didn’t see a folded chair to the back of one of the speakers, at the very least. Mrs. Bevin showed incredible restraint to go along with her side-eye.

Shout-out to the couple with the KSR sign.


Jamie Comer isn’t #TeamBevin.

Comer fell 83 votes shy of Bevin in the Republican primary and it’s clear he’s not over the gubernatorial defeat, nor is he on board with Bevin as his party’s nominee. Comer failed to mention Bevin once in his speech and then took home the award for Best McKayla Maroney Not Impressed Face.

Cell service is nonexistent. 

A potentially historic SnapChat story was limited to a few photos.

Friday night’s Democratic Bean Dinner was the single worst event I’ve ever attended in my life.

And I’ve been to several funerals, my little sister’s piano recitals, an Indiana-Nebraska basketball game and two country music concerts.

With all due respect to the Marshall County Democrats and the entire Democratic party, I would rather Pete Rose slide naked down a gravel road covered in broken glass than sit through that dinner again. Very nice people, but way too much talking on a Friday night. Trim it down a couple hours next year, guys.

Those beans and cornbread though. *Insert flame emoji*

Mitch McConnell’s sock game is weak. 

Solid green with a solid green shirt? I expected better from one of the most powerful people in America.

I sat two seats behind the governor and I still have no idea why that was a thing that was allowed.

Six or seven years ago, if you told a younger Drew Franklin that he would be sitting behind the governor and across the aisle from the Majority Leader of the Senate on one of the biggest stages in politics, he would wonder what turn he took in life that led him there.

But that’s what happened on Saturday when I walked all the way down the third row to the seat with my name on it. I sat there for over two hours, pretending to care, wondering if the people watching on TV at home could tell if I was playing on my phone the whole time. IMG_8775

I never in a million years thought I’d enjoy something like the Fancy Farm Picnic, but I had a blast listening to the candidates go at each other’s throats all day. The delicious Fancy Farm barbecue didn’t hurt, either.

Everyone should check out the picnic at least once.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

14 Comments for That Time I Went To Fancy Farm

  1. Matt pounds the crap out of politicians and numerous comments on a post about it last night get deleted. That seems consistent!

  2. mcash5
    10:14 pm August 3, 2015 Permalink

    This picnic is not just about politics. There’s way more to it. The hard work by the community is unbelievable. By the way we are not the crazy ones who scream and cuss at the politicians. We’re too busy working the booths and selling food and drinks. Don’t get me wrong, having yall there was amazing but don’t say the Fancy Farmers were the rowdy ones or that the picnic is only about politics. It’s a homecoming were I get to see most of my family. It’s the only time I get to see them too. I love the picnic but not because of the politics. I love it because it’s who we are as a community and a chance to raise money for our church. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  3. Big John
    11:16 pm August 3, 2015 Permalink

    Great summary Drew

  4. Angelo
    12:09 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    Wow Drew! Total honesty. No wonder good people don’t go into politics…Sad…

  5. Mama C
    12:12 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    I agree that the Fancy Farm Picnic is so much more than the politics. The family traditions and dedication of the community to support their church is incredible. If you were to dig a bit deeper into the families involved and their history, I think you would agree. Yes, the politics are a part of the tradition but not the complete story. The “eccentrics” do love to show off their enthusiasm for where they stand, I most certainly agree with that. But there is no better place to get a delicious dinner of barbecued pork and mutton, the best fried chicken ever, home grown corn, lima beans and black eyed peas, not to mention the most amazing homemade pies, cakes and cobblers. You’re right, it is in the middle of nowhere with little to no cell service, but I love the charm. Few and far between will you find a festival steeped in such history, family, love, tradition,concern for fellow man. I personally love this festival and have traveled many miles to enjoy it and its people, and maybe even a little bit of the political antics.

  6. Michael
    1:02 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    We could all see you on your phone drew

  7. Bobby Thomas
    2:39 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    I live in Fancy Farm. As far as I know the cell service is fine. We use our smartphones here
    regularly with no problem. The small town doesn’t have a Taco Bell, but it does have
    a Dollar General, Hobbs Home Center, Check-Mart, First Community Bank, Toons
    Small Engine(Cub Cadet dealer) Hutson’ s Ag Service, a beautiful church, brand new
    State of the, Hasley Hall, The Restaurant, former Brown Thompson’s
    Meat Plant, and soon to be Fancy Farm Winery, Willett Realty.

  8. Fairplay
    8:49 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    “Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin seemed to get the worst of Matt’s onslaught”. Well Shazam. Can you imagine that.

  9. secrick
    8:55 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    The democrat dinner you went to is the same way they are running the country, slow , dumb and down right boring.

  10. Nomorebeans
    9:53 am August 4, 2015 Permalink

    Spot on Drew. Great traditions, nice people but too far away from civilization, cell service and common sense. As for the bean dinner, nothing like dragging Democrats 4 hours away from the Democratic headquarters and making them listen to only local politics for two hours before the marquee speakers and only serving them beans and cornbread. I feel like inmates at nearby Eddyville prison had better nightly entertainment and dinner options. Slow . .painful . . .death . . .

  11. cynelder
    12:45 pm August 4, 2015 Permalink

    Glad you came. Glad you’re gone. Hope you come back again. Oh, if you do, come to the meat stand. We’ll let you pull pork and chop mutton and stay greasy the entire day and send you home with the smell of world famous BBQ on you for weeks and a smile on your face.

  12. Dennis Foust
    12:53 pm August 4, 2015 Permalink

    I’m hurt (not really) that you and other commentators did not enjoy the bean dinner. I guess it was my destruction of “My Old Kentucky Home” that was the last straw. But as my daughter once said to me when I told her “That is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done” , really Dad, the dumbest thing? So I must ask, were you not in Lucas Oil Stadium on April 4, when 38-0 became 38-1? I guess everything is a matter of perspective, but I measure miserable events by their relationship to bad UK games. To me that is the only measurable standard to use. But we are glad you came anyway, and your overall summary of Fancy Farm and related events was good. And I won’t hold your disdain for the bean dinner against you.