WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - The southern Illinois festival season gets underway a little earlier than usual this year, with the Old King Coal Festival beginning Thursday, May 8 and running through Sunday, May 11 in downtown West Frankfort.
President Steve Sawalich is excited to announce that three new groups to the festival will take the main stage Thursday through Saturday evenings in free concerts.
Southern Illinois fast rising group "Skylyne Drive," featuring the outstanding vocals of 2012 Princess Flame Jenna Harner and her sister Janna, headline Thursday evening beginning at 6 p.m. Friday night it's "We Got It Covered" bringing mainly country and classic rock to their audience at 7 p.m. The band was launched in 2011 and includes veteran musicians Keenan Rice, Trey Ford, Bob Marlow, Bob Priebe, along with "Fiddlin Phenom," Amelia Eisenhauer, and Kevin Piper. In 2012, the band opened for Lee Greenwood and was part of the SI Country Fest in Sparta, which featured Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley and Trace Adkins. In 2013 they opened for Justin Moore at Herrinfesta Italiana and Darryl Worley on the grandstand stage at the Du Quoin State Fair.
Rounding out the main stage free entertainment Saturday night are the "Emily Clark Band" on stage at 6 pm and Old King Coal fan favorite, 3rd Story, at 9 pm. Emily Clark Band was chosen as runner up at the Colgate Palmolive Country Showdown in 2008. Emily's original music videos were chosen in CMT's Music Madness contest in 2007 and 2009.
Luehrs' Ideal Rides, one of the top midways' in the country, returns for the 12th year bringing exciting rides and food to the midway. Thursday night and Sunday afternoon all rides take one ticket.
Returning to the Old King Coal lineup are the Job and College Fair on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 110 S. Monroe. On Saturday it's the 3rd annual West Frankfort Fire Dept. Water Fights at the Fire Station at 9 a.m., Coal Miners Memorial Service and 2014 "Walk of Honor" ceremony at Coal Miner's Memorial Park at 10 a.m., Old King Coal Parade at 1 p.m., and "Tribute To The Coal Mining Industry" on the main stage at 3 p.m. The Old King Coal Talent Contest with Tom Wallace will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon on the main stage.
Princess Flame and Old King Coal will be crowned during the Princess Flame Pageant on Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at Paschedag Auditorium at the West Frankfort High School. Beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 12, the public is invited to meet current and former contestants during the "Princess Flame Luncheon" at Bella's Italian Restaurant in West Frankfort. Tickets for the luncheon are $15 for adults and $6 for child's plate. All proceeds to benefit the Princess Flame scholarship pageant. Visit Princess Flame Scholarship Pageant and Princess Flame Luncheon on Facebook for more information on those events. Tickets for the Princess Flame luncheon are available at Southern Illinois Bank and J&S Professional Pharmacy in West Frankfort. For a complete schedule of 2014 Old King Coal events and to download parade entry forms visit www.oldkingcoal.com.