he annual Fancy Farm Picnic is now officially the “world’s largest picnic.”
Nearing the eve of the 104th renewal of the annual picnic, barbecue and political speaking at Fancy Farm on August 4, the picnic has been declared the “world’s largest’ in the latest Guinness Book of World Records.
The world record designation is due to the efforts of a 14-year-old Graves County boy and the dedication of thousands of volunteer workers and customers during the 103-year history of the Fancy Farm event.
Bill Erwin, son of Jerry and Norma Erwin, Mayfield, Route 2, is directly responsible for the world’s record designation. He also represents the fourth generation of his family to help each in preparing for the annual picnic.
Young Erwin said in August, 1982, he was casually looking through the Guinness Book of World Records when he noted the “world’s largest picnic” was listed in Florida.
The record book said 6,000 pounds of meat was consumed during a picnic in Florida.
Bill immediately realized his family as far back as his great-grandfather, Joseph Carrico, had been connected with the Fancy Farm Picnic during which more meat is consumed. Bill’s grandfather, Harold Carrico, continues preparing meat for the occasion, a job the elder Carrico has done for the past 20 years.
Bill immediately sent a letter to the firm in London, England, which publishes the world record listings.
A reply from London informed Bill that his information about Fancy Farm’s picnic was too late for the next publication of the book.
Then early in 1983, the London firm wrote Bill and asked for additional information. Bill said he sent clippings from area newspapers as well as additional information supplied by his grandfather concerning the picnic.
Later, the London firm acknowledged the receipt of Bill’s last letter and thanked him for his assistance. Nothing more was heard from the publishing company.
Then Bill bought the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records and on page 498 under the listing of “Largest Picnic” he saw the following notice:
“At the 1982 holding of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic, Kentucky, (est. 1880) on August 6th, the consumption of lamb, pork and chicken meat reached 15,000 pounds (6.80 tons).”
Inserted: (Presently the Fancy Farm Picnic cooks over 18,000 pounds - Feb 2004.)
Bill said he was proud the Fancy Farm record has been recognized and that he planned to assist his grandfather in preparing the barbecue and barbecue sauce for this year’s picnic.
“Congressman Carroll Hubbard learned the Fancy Farm Picnic was in the record book and he contacted me for information about my grandfather, Harold Carrico, and his work at the picnic over the years,” Bill said, “Congressman Hubbard said he was going to try to get my grandfather listed in the world record book also.”
Bill lives with his parents and three sisters, Jean, Gerri and Carrie, about two miles east of Mayfield on Highway 80. He attends St. Joseph Church in Mayfield and will be a student at Mayfield Middle School in August.
By Wendell Givens
The Mayfield Messenger – July 24, 1984