First-ever millennial to emcee at annual Fancy Farm picnic

FANCY FARM, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles will be the first-ever millennial to serve as emcee of political speeches at the much-heralded Fancy Farm picnic in western Kentucky on Aug. 4.

“Growing up a farm kid in Kentucky, you always hear about the Fancy Farm picnic,” Quarles said. “It was the fulfillment of a dream when I got the opportunity to take the stage for the first time in 2015 as a candidate but I never imagined I’d have the chance to act as the emcee. It’s truly an honor to assume a role so many of the greats in Kentucky’s storied political history have filled before me.”

Quarles, a Republican from Georgetown, was 32 when he was elected agriculture commissioner in 2015, making him the youngest statewide elected official in the United States, a distinction he still holds.

Quarles also served three terms in the Kentucky House, representing parts of Scott, Owen and Fayette counties.

In keeping with tradition, invitations to speak at this year’s picnic will be extended to incumbents of statewide offices, including both the state’s U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

Mark Wilson, who organizes the political speeches for the local Catholic church, said the group is excited to have the first millennial to emcee the event.

“A picnic doesn’t reach its 138th year without embracing the changing times,” Wilson said.

Wilson and his committee alternate between Republican and Democratic emcees, with an occasional journalist thrown in for good measure.

The Fancy Farm picnic is touted by organizers to be the world’s largest one-day barbeque, attracting more than 10,000 visitors.