Kentucky State Fair now open for business

Gov. Steve Beshear
Gov. Steve Beshear
Attorney General Jack Conway
Attorney General Jack Conway
Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer
Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At 7:00 a.m. Thursday, the Kentucky State Fair opened with one of its biggest traditions: The Commodity Breakfast.

"It's always an exciting day at this commodity breakfast that kicks off the state fair," said Governor Steve Beshear.

It's been a tradition for years; from pork to poultry – it's all from Kentucky farmers.

"We have 85,000 farms in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  They are 500,000 of the Farm Bureau, so Kentucky's agriculture economy is a huge, huge bonus for this state," Jack Conway said.

"I think we've more than doubled the number of farmers markets across the state during my administration, so a lot of good things going on in agriculture," Richie Farmer said.

The breakfast is also a big platform for Kentucky politics. Farmer is currently the Ag Commissioner, but a bigger political run has been talked about before.  For those who are running, it was more like a working breakfast.

"75 days - but who's counting," laughed Democratic Mayoral Candidate Greg Fischer, who made the rounds at the breakfast, as did Jack Conway.

The national spotlight continues to shine on the Senate race between Conway and Rand Paul; a light that's not as bright for Conway.

When asked if he's surprised by all the national attention Rand Paul is getting, Conway said, "Not really.  I think he's made some outlandish statements."

As the political back and forth continues, it comes during a tough time for the Commonwealth.   Budget shortfalls canceled the fair in 1904; but while the entire state is facing economic problems during this fair, the governor hopes six unpaid days off for state workers will ease the penny pinch.

"I understand why people don't like furloughs.  I don't like them either, but the other option is to fire about 415 people and that would be a lot worse in my mind.  We're going to save about $24 million and help balance the budget by having 6 furlough days and it's going to apply to me and to the top and all the way in state government," the Governor said.

Musical acts at the fair include Surgarland, Rascal Flatts, and Tim McGraw, among others. For more information on the fair, click here.

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