Palin picnic in Alaska hometown draws big crowd

More than a thousand people showed up for former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's annual picnic held in her hometown of Wasilla.

Palin, who is resigning and leaves office on Sunday, used the occasion to sign autographs and hand out hot dogs.

The governor — dressed casually in blue jeans and a red sweat shirt that read "Once a patriot, always a patriot" — was mobbed Friday by well-wishers who offered up babies, books, calendars, skateboards and even their hands for autographs. Several longtime picnic-goers said this year's picnic crowd dwarfed last year's.

Fred Kostrick, an 84-year-old World War II veteran from Michigan who attended the event, said he appreciated Palin's support of the military.

"I think she's one hell of a lady," he said. "She's tough, she stands her ground and she's taken a lot of guff — more than I could."

Others, such as Wes Hammerick, relayed his admiration for the governor and his dreams for the future in song.

"In 2012, I'll give you a hint. Alaska's pit bull will be our president," he sang in a tune titled "North to the Future."

At the end of the song, the Big Lake, Alaska, resident shouted: "Sarah Palin for president!"

A teenage boy replied as loudly, "Obama!"

During the picnic, Palin said she was glad to be in front of her hometown as she kicked off a series of three picnics before she leaves office. Another will be held in Anchorage on Saturday and the third is scheduled for Sunday in Fairbanks, when Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell takes over as governor.

Palin also chastised the media for sometimes ignoring those who defend freedom, telling the crowd that she had attended a memorial service for three soldiers from Alaska a day earlier. Her son, Track, is currently serving in Iraq.

"Never apologize for being Americans," she told the crowd in Wasilla, a city of about 7,000 where Palin once served as mayor.

A man yelled out, "we want you to be our commander in chief!"

Palin has not said what she will do after she leaves office but many have speculated that she will run for president in 2012.

The governor left the event without taking questions from the media, driving off in a blue SUV with her daughter Piper.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before