Ham breakfast proves tradition still strong

Attendees of the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair's annual Ham Breakfast line up for eggs, biscuits and country ham cured by area 4-H youth Saturday morning.

Attendees of the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair's annual Ham Breakfast line up for eggs, biscuits and country ham cured by area 4-H youth Saturday morning. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

According to Virgil and Joy Gardner, Callaway County has some of the best ham in the state. Good enough that they travel to Fulton from Boone County every year to eat at the annual Kingdom of Callaway County Fair Ham Breakfast, now in its 35th year.

“We come every year because they have the best ham breakfast anywhere — including Boone County or the state fair,” Joy Gardner said Saturday morning as she waited to enjoy one of her favorite meals of the year. “We look forward to it from year to year.”

Virgil Gardner, a longtime ham judge at the Callaway and state fairs, said the reason Callaway’s ham is so much better is, “the way it’s cooked mostly.”

“It’s because it’s the way it’s supposed to be,” agreed friend Evelyn Fenton, who always makes the trip with the Gardners. “It tastes like country ham is supposed to taste.”

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