The small town of Benton, KY lies in the far western part of the Bluegrass state in Marshall County. Benton’s geographical location is the center of the county in a nest of hills just South and West of Clarks River. Kentucky Lake is a close amenity. The quaint town of Benton was founded in 1842 by John Bearden and Francis H. Clayton, but named for Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. Benton was then incorporated in 1845.
Tater Day has been a Benton tradition since 1842 when local sweet potato seedlings were distributed to boost local agriculture. It developed into a festive trade day with celebration on the first Monday in April, and is today regarded as the oldest continuously celebrated day of its kind in the nation. The current events of Tater Day begin Saturday with a carnival, demolition derby and flea market. Throughout the weekend hosts a beauty pageant, gospel singing, pancake breakfast, BBQ cookoff and lots more. It has been recorded that over 100,000 people pass through Benton during this event. The parade is on Monday with over 150 entries each year. Anyone from the Shriner’s clowns to the John Deere tractors stroll down Main Street as parade participants. All local businesses and banks close for the big event on Monday. The town is transformed into a haven for traders, dealers and shoppers.
Benton’s other “big day” is Big Singing Day. James R. Lemon and his family started this tradition in 1884 with their performance of hymns and revival songs. Big Singing Day is held the fourth Sunday in May each year at the Marshall County Courthouse located on Main Street.