May 9, 2017 - Nostalgia comes to Southern Illinois this week as West Frankfort's Old King Coal Festival gets underway with the theme "I Love Coal" Thursday, May 11.
This year's "Old King Coal," Charles A. Bartoni Jr., and "Princess Flame," Lexie Tourville, will reign over the festival, which runs May 11 to 14 in downtown West Frankfort.
The annual festival features a midway beginning Thursday, the Coal Miners Memorial Service at 10 a.m. Saturday at Coal Miners Memorial Park, the parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, and lots of food and crafts. Thursday is "family night" on the midway, with all rides requiring just one ticket to ride. Family-ride pricing returns Sunday afternoon.
All concerts are free. Festival-goers are urged to bring lawn chairs for the concerts.
Cash prizes will be awarded on the main stage immediately following the parade Saturday. The categories include best of show, best church, best business, best club/organization and best coal theme.
The festival, which began in 1941 in West Frankfort, celebrates the coal mining industry every year during the second weekend of May.
For a complete schedule of events, head to oldkingcoalfestival.org.