Fancy Farm, Kentucky

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Fancy Farm
Census Designated Place
Street scene in Fancy Farm
Street scene in Fancy Farm
Fancy Farm's position in Kentucky.
Fancy Farm's position in Kentucky.
Coordinates: 36°47′56″N 88°47′29″W / 36.79889°N 88.79139°W / 36.79889; -88.79139Coordinates: 36°47′56″N 88°47′29″W / 36.79889°N 88.79139°W / 36.79889; -88.79139
Country  United States
State  Kentucky
County Graves
Elevation 130 m (430 ft)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Code 42039
Area code(s) 270 & 364
GNIS feature ID 2629613
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Fancy Farm, Kentucky

Fancy Farm is a census-designated place in Graves County, Kentucky, United States,[1] about ten miles west of the county seat, Mayfield on Kentucky Route 80, in the rural western portion of the state called the Jackson Purchase. Fancy Farm was settled by Roman Catholics starting in 1829, and is known for its strong Catholic community. The community grew around St. Jerome Church, built in 1836. The first post office opened in 1843.[2] The colorful name was apparently chosen when the post office opened, by a man who was applying to be postmaster.[3] First mentioned in the U.S. Census in 1870 as a post office in Boswell Precinct; first mentioned as a town in Magisterial District 5 in the 1910 census; finally enumerated as a town in its own precinct in the 1920 census. The 2010 United States Census reported that Fancy Farm's population was 458.[4]

A crowd gathers to hear a stump speech at the Fancy Farm picnic

The village is the site of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic, famous as a traditional political gathering attracting statewide and occasionally national candidates. The picnic began in 1880 as a purely local affair. It takes place mostly on the grounds of Fancy Farm Elementary School. Since 1956 it has been held on the first Saturday in August. It has come to represent the traditional starting point of the fall campaign season in Kentucky.[5]

The picnic was of purely local interest until A. B. "Happy" Chandler (best known for being the second Commissioner of Major League Baseball) began making appearances, going for the first time in 1931 while running for Lieutenant Governor.[6]

So many Kentucky politicians attend that it tends to only be news when a major politician decides not to make an appearance, such as senator Jim Bunning in 2007. National figures who have made speeches include George C. Wallace and Al Gore. Vice President Alben Barkley spoke many times over the years.[7]

In addition to the political appearances, the picnic offers traditional fair activities such as bingo games and raffle prizes.[8] Food includes barbecue, a Knights of Columbus fish fry and homemade baked goods. The event was recognized in the 1985 Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Largest Picnic", for the consumption of 15,000 pounds of mutton, pork, and chicken at the 1982 picnic.[9]

The picnic proceeds are used to finance local improvements. No outside vendors participate, and about 12,000 to 15,000 people attend each year.[10]


  1. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Fancy Farm, Kentucky." USGS. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Fancy Farm, Kentucky Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  2. ^ "Fancy Farm, Kentucky". Kentucky Atlas and Gazetteer. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  3. ^ "The History of St. Jerome Perish". Archived from the original on 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  4. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  5. ^ Schreiner, Bruce (2007-07-17). "Bunning: Fancy Farm picnic 'out of control'". The Courier-Journal. 
  6. ^ Gerth, Joseph (2008-08-02). "Lunsford, McConnell to match wits at Fancy Farm political picnic". The Courier-Journal. 
  7. ^ "Local legacies: Fancy Farm Picnic". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  8. ^ Kleber, John E. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Kentucky. p. 308. 
  9. ^ "Mayfield: Pearl of the Purchase". Kentucky Living. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  10. ^ Beardsley, Elizabeth (2006-08-03). "Big guns missing, but Fancy Farm will roll on". The Courier-Journal. 

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