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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there