Linda Skeens is internet famous after VA-KY District Fair

Susan S. Johnson

Linda Skeens has become an internet legend after nearly sweeping the contests at the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair.

Linda Skeens has become an internet legend after nearly sweeping the contests at the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair.

Facebook screengrab

Little is known about Linda Skeens, but it’s easy to dream about what it’s like in her home.

The sweet smell of freshly baked cookies lofting from the kitchen to the living space. That first bite into one of her savory breads providing a mouthful of pure joy.

The sound of Ms. Skeens dicing and chopping all of the fresh produce that comes her way to make her satisfying canned vegetables and fruits.

Linda Skeens may as well be an internet fable — a majestic chef who knows her way around sauerkraut as well as she does strawberry fudge.

But she’s as real as the dozens of awards she won at last month’s Virginia-Kentucky District Fair. Linda Skeens — colloquially known online by her full, now-famous name — has become an internet icon following those triumphs.

“If it can be made, she can make it,” Franki Skeens, Linda’s granddaughter, told The Washington Post. “I don’t know how she does it. There are never any leftovers.”

Her granddaughter said Linda lives in Russell County, Virginia, and has five grandchildren and two-great grandchildren.

Linda Skeens’ journey to internet fame began June 13 when the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair began listing off its competition winners. Skeens’ name was everywhere.

She won contests for relish, jelly and jam; showed off her prowess in the baking categories by sweeping the cookies and bread categories; and displayed master excellence with her candy, cakes and pie entries.

She won 25 of the 29 categories she entered, fair spokesperson Jennifer Sturgill told Today.

Those posts by the Wise, Virginia fair, located just a few miles from southeastern Kentucky, went viral. And along the way, the internet wanted to know one thing.

“Linda Skeens where are you!? Internet, we gotta find #lindaskeens,” one woman said in one of the many TikTok videos about the new internet legend.

She has not done any interviews, and it does not appear as if she has a social media presence.

There is a Linda Skeens in Dublin, Virginia, but she confessed she is not the one of internet fame.

“I am not the Linda Skeens baking phenom who won all the ribbons at the Kentucky Virginia District Fair,” the other Linda Skeens said. “I sure wish I was, because I have been contacted by people from Pennsylvania inviting me to Thanksgiving dinner and offering to pay my way up there, I’ve heard from a nice guy from Indonesia and all kinds of WONDERFUL people CONVINCED it is me!! But, alas, I am not the one.”

Commenters can’t get enough of the superheroine Skeens. Many have compared her to Chuck Norris, the revered tough guy who became one of the first memes on the internet.

“Linda Skeens is my new idol,” one woman said.

“They should rename it the Linda Skeens VA KY District Fair,” said another commenter.

Jennifer Mulliens, a member of the fair committee, told The Washington Post that Skeens has always won big at the fair, but she “took on newfound success on social media” this year.

“If people are interested to meet Linda, they just need to go to the next local county fair,” Franki Skeens told the Post.

Mike Stunson covers real-time news for McClatchy. He is a 2011 Western Kentucky University graduate who has previously worked at the Paducah Sun and Madisonville Messenger as a sports reporter and the Lexington Herald-Leader as a breaking news reporter.
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