LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The 54th Annual Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast and Auction is bringing thousands to the Kentucky State Fair.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau sponsors and hosts the annual event, which includes the state fair's grand champion country ham for auction to the highest bidder. 

The champion ham was auctioned off and sold to Central Bank for $325,000. The money bid on the ham goes to a charity of the buyer's choice -- in this case, Central Bank says it's donating the funds to UK Athletics, UK HealthCare and the Gatton College of Business and Economics, UK's business school.

Since the event began in 1964, the Kentucky Farm Bureau has raised nearly $10 million for charities across the state.

The first ham purchased in 1964 sold for $8 per pound, for a total of $124. But bidding wars from individuals and corporations have driven the price paid for the ham to an average of $745,000 over the past ten years.

The record was set in 2014 when Bank and Hermitage Farms with Bridgeman Foods, Inc. paid $2 million. In 2016, the ham sold for $600,000.

Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney says the annual breakfast has become a showcase for the state's agricultural products. 

"I am excited," Haney said. "This is a big day for us in Agriculture, especially Farm Bureau. We come from all over the state, but this gives us a place to showcase our industry.

"And this morning we'll be able to share it with 1,600 guests here - political leaders, urban folks - but lots of rural families will be here as well. So it gives us a great opportunity to talk about Ag issues."

Although ham is the star of the show, the executive chef was preparing more than 5,400 eggs to serve along with 450 pounds of ham to more than 1,600 expected guests.

Several Kentucky lawmakers are expected to attend, including Gov. Matt Bevin, Senator Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes  

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