The 18th annual festival is expected to bring an economic boost to the area, according to local economic development officials.
“We’ve been told that several local eateries, retail and convenience stores have their best week, sales wise, during the Coal Festival,” said Larry V. Lodato, secretary and publicist, and one of the event’s organizers. “With this year’s prolific entertainment lineup of Marty Stuart and Exile, we anticipate even more people than ever before.”
All of the concerts are free, Lodato said, so most of the money that will be circulated by the public will be for food, souvenirs and the carnival.
“Festival goers are aksed to come early and bring a lawn chair,” he said.
Major financial contributors to the Festival include the Boone County Commission, Patriot Coal Company, Hobet Mining, the United Mine Workers of America and Coal River Energy, Lodato added.
“The festival kicks-off this Saturday (June 18) with the Teen and Miss West Virginia Coal Festival pageants at the Madison Civic Center,” Lodato said.
Pageant coordinator Maxine Tinnel says there is still time to enter the events.
“The Teen Pageant begins at 10 a.m. and the Miss WV Coal Festival Pageant begins at 3 p.m.,” she said. “The winners will be crowned after the events.”
On Tuesday, June 21, the Coal Heritage Museum will be open from noon until 9 p.m., Lodato said.
“Roger Hudson’s Karaoke Shoe will begin at 7 p.m. and the carnival will open at 6 p.m.,” he said.
The “Opening Ceremonies” and the “Miners Memorial Service” is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 22.
Delores W. Cook, the miners memorial service coordinator, said West Virginia State Police Chaplin James Mitchell will be the guest speaker with talented vocalist Be Bee Cole performing.
Also, over $15 million in the latest mine equipment will be on display Wednesday, June 22, through Saturday, June 25, directly across the street from the Boone County Courthouse.
“Many representatives of the companies will be available to give a first-hand account of how the machinery operates underground,” said James R. “Jimbo” Clendenen.
Clendenen said most of the equipment that will be displayed is already sold and will be headed out to the coal companies once the festival is over. The always popular “Gospel Sing” will begin at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 22, Lodato added, and will continue through 10 p.m. on the main stage.
This year’s entertainment lineup will feature four-time Grammy Award winner and Grand Ole’ Opry star Marty Stuart on Thursday, June 23.
Friday, June 24, will feature the oldies group, The Avalons, and Exile will take the stage on Saturday, June 25. Exile, which has 11 number one hits, is making their 40th anniversary tour. The band has all of its original five members reunited for the tour.
Friday night, June 24, will also feature a fireworks display, beginning at 10:45 p.m. and is sponsored by Hobet Mining.
West Virginia Coal Festival President Joy Underwood said the Grand Parade will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and will feature many dignitaries, including Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, U.S. Congressman Nick Joe Rahall and Major General James A. Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard. Hoyer assumed his new duties on Feb. 1, 2011, replacing Alan Tackett, who retired.
Hoyer has also been selected at the 2011 Grand Marshal.
As the Adjutant General for the state, Hoyer provides command guidance and vision for the West Virginia Army and Air National Guard of more than 6,000 citizen soldiers and airmen. He provides the overall supervision of the day-to-day operations and management of the readiness, fiscal, personnel, equipment and the real property resources of the agency.
General Hoyer received his undergraduate degree from the University of Charleston and was commission in 1983 through a joint Reserve Officer Training Corps program with West Virginia State University.
Hoyer began his military career in the West Virginia National Guard as a Calvary Officer. He attended the Special Forces Officer Qualification course and spent over 14 years with the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group.
Hoyer led the development of the West Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and the Joint Interagency Training and Education Center and its Center for National Response, a national level operational and training capability for critical infrastructure protection and consequence response.
During his military career, Hoyer has received over 20 major awards and decorations.
“With our patriotic theme for this year’s Coal Festival, it was only fitting that Major General Hoyer be selected Grand Marshal,” said Delores W. Cook, member of the planning committee. “He graciously accepted, and we’re very appreciative of him. The West Virginia National Guard tradition is in good hands.”