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John Michael Montgomery and Lorrie Morgan — Free Concert at Kentucky State Fair Tonight

The newest members of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, John Michael Montgomery and Keith Whitley are saluted in a free concert at the Kentucky State Fair tonight. Jesse Keith Whitley and his mom Lorrie Morgan are also on the bill! It’s at 8 tonight in Cardinal Stadium.

But, first — breakfast this morning –

Soon to be filling the halls of the Kentucky Exposition Center’s South Wing with the welcoming aroma of fresh biscuits and seasoned country ham, the 48th annual Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast will kick off Kentucky Farm Bureau Day at the Kentucky State Fair. This ticketed event begins at 7:30 a.m. this morning and features a country-style breakfast followed by a live auction of the state’s 2011 Grand Champion Country Ham.

Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney will emcee the event that features speakers Governor Steve Beshear, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, and will be accompanied in attendance by several other local, state and national elected officials.

Anticipating another sellout crowd of 1,600 attendees, Kentucky Farm Bureau is preparing huge quantities of food. More than 5,400 eggs, 1,600 half-pints of milk, 30 gallons of sorghum, 20 gallons of honey, 6,400 oranges and 450 pounds of country ham will be served by the end of the meal.

In addition to all the great food at the breakfast, the event is highlighted by a live auction of the Grand Champion Ham. The auction’s humble beginnings – a respectable $124 winning bid at the first event in 1964 – have grown exponentially in recent years. The average price of the auctioned ham over the last 10 years is now more than $460,000. Last year’s auction tipped the scales even further with its record-setting $1.6 million winning bid, the result of a concerted effort between two bidders. Bernard Trager, Chairman of Republic Bank & Trust, and Dr. Mark Lynn & Associates, owner of Dr. Bizer’s Vision World, each bid $800,000 for the 16.05-pound ham produced by Broadbent B&B Foods of Kuttawa, Kentucky.

Such high prices come with good intentions, too, as all the money raised from the ham auction is donated to the charity of the winning bidder’s choice. Though no goal is set for the ham’s top bid each year, Kentucky Farm Bureau has helped raise more than $5.6 million for local charities, educational and philanthropic groups through the auction.

Other activities today include:

4-H & FFA SALE OF CHAMPIONS

6:30PM

MINIATURE HORSE SHOW – today through Saturday

KENTUCKY FARM BUREAU FEDERATION ANNUAL GOSPEL QUARTET CONTEST

9:15AM

Click here for general information about the fair.

Click here for Today’s other attractions and activities.

Click here for daily shows and roving acts.

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