Old King Coal Festival kicks off Sept. 13 | Community Spirit
WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - The 2012 Southern Illinois Old King Coal Festival festivities officially are underway Thursday, September 13 at 5 p.m. downtown.
Family Night on the midway features Luehrs’ Ideal Rides, one of the top midways in the country. All rides are 1 ticket. A limited number of discounted advance tickets are available at Kroger’s and Heights Market in West Frankfort. Steve Gosney featuring Dave Clark and Jackson Junction headline Thursday nights free concert at the main stage beginning at 6 p.m. Lew Jetton and 61 South perform Friday at the main stage beginning at 7 p.m.
One of the events new to the festival this year is the Job and College Fair, Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Old Firehouse Event Center, 108 North Emma in West Frankfort. Those looking for a new career or educational path are urged to take advantage of the opportunity to speak with representatives of over 25 colleges and employers who will be participating in this free event.
Phil Gonet, President of the Illinois Coal Association will be the guest speaker at the Coal Miner’s Memorial Service being held on Saturday this year beginning at 10 a.m. at the Coal Miner’s Memorial in the center of downtown West Frankfort. Local businessman and community volunteer, Tim Grigsby will be inducted into the “Walk of Honor” in front of the Coal Miner’s Memorial as part of the memorial service. The McDonald’s Children’s & Pet Parade and Old King Coal Grand Parade begin at 1 p.m. with 2012 Old King Coal, Harry Sileven as the Parade Marshall.
Local, state and national dignitaries will be speaking on behalf of coal jobs at the “Stand Up for American Coal Jobs Rally”, beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the main stage behind city hall in downtown West Frankfort. Lending their support for coal jobs and just added to the list of speakers for Saturday’s rally are Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and David Vaught, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce. Other speakers include Robert E. Murray, Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of Murray Energy, Chris Hamilton, Senior Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association, Haven King, founder of “Coal Mining our Future” from Hazard, Kentucky, State Representatives John Bradley and Mike Bost, State Senator Gary Forby, Leonard Hopkins, Southern Illinois Power Cooperative Environmental and Fuels Manager, West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan and Marion Mayor, Robert Butler. International recording artist Stella Parton will pay tribute to the American Coal Miner with her extraordinary music and speaking talents in support of the hardworking men and women of the coal mining industry.
There will be a free shuttle bus service from noon Saturday, Sept. 15 to midnight running from the VF Factory Outlet just off I-57 to the Old King Coal Festival. Visitors are invited to park their cars at VF and take advantage of this free service to eliminate parking congestion downtown. In case of rain on Saturday, the Coal Rally will be held in the Paschedag Auditorium at Frankfort Community High School, three blocks east of the Old King Coal Festival activities.
Headlining the nightly free entertainment on the main stage Saturday are, Egyptian Combo at 6 p.m., and The Brat Pack at 9 p.m..
The festival winds up Sunday with Sloan’s Gymnastics at 1 p.m., the Old King Coal Talent Contest with Tom Wallace at 2 p.m., both events at the main stage. The 1st Annual West Frankfort Fire Department Firefighter Games will begin at 2 p.m. at the firehouse on North Emma.
The midway opens at 1 p.m. Sunday with family day. All rides are 1 ticket.
Spectators are urged to bring a lawn chair for The Coal Miner’s Memorial Service as well as the parade, Coal Rally and main stage events.
For a complete Old King Coal schedule go to www.oldkingcoal.com or call the OKC hotline at 993-COAL (2625).
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