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FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2019 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., addresses the audience gathered at the Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. The Republican Party, the Trump campaign and other GOP organizations say they are suspending their spending on Twitter to protest the platform’s treatment of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Twitter temporarily locked McConnell’s campaign account after it shared a video in which some protesters spoke of violence outside his Kentucky home, where he is recovering from a shoulder fracture. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Some of Kentucky's most prominent leaders can start warming up their best zingers — the political speeches will resume at the Fancy Farm picnic after a one-year hiatus caused by COVID-19.

Organizers confirmed Monday that the picnic and speeches are on for this year. Bob Babbage, a former Kentucky secretary of state and auditor, will be emcee of the political speaking — a rite of passage for statewide candidates in the Bluegrass State.

The picnic — also known for its barbecue — is set for Aug. 7 in the far western Kentucky community of Fancy Farm. Last year's picnic was scaled back and the political speeches were canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With more people getting the COVID-19 vaccine, “we feel comfortable of having a traditional picnic this year,” said Steven Elder, chairman of the picnic’s political speaking.

“Seeing the (Kentucky) Derby on Saturday, that was a blessing to any Kentuckian," he said in a phone interview. "And knowing that we are preparing and planning for the Fancy Farm picnic is just another. It’s a normal return to life.”

The picnic's political speaking is the traditional start of the fall campaign season in Kentucky. This is a nonelection year, but attention is already turning to next year's U.S. Senate race and the 2023 campaign for governor. The speeches are broadcast on statewide television.

The picnic is a fundraiser for the St. Jerome’s Catholic Church and school.

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