FRANKFORT, Kentucky — 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.