A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage
At the end of September, folks in Williamson will come together to celebrate their Appalachian heritage at the 47th Annual King Coal Festival. This year the festival will take place from September 19th - 22nd. It hosts a variety of activities, events, and vendors to showcase the unique traditions and culture of southern West Virginia.
The festival has been hosted by the Action in Mingo (AIM) organization every third weekend of September since it started in 1972. Both the festival and AIM were founded by local schoolteacher Mae Stallard and her friends, according to Jada Hunter, the current president of AIM.
Something For Everyone
The festivities will kick off on Thursday, September 19th with a pet show, and continue into the weekend. On Friday evening, there will be a Block Party in downtown Williamson, with a variety of local food vendors and a Cornhole tournament.
Throughout Saturday, live bluegrass and country musicians will entertain the crowd, and local vendors will sell their handmade goods. In addition to the traditional events, like the crowning of Mr. King Coal and the parade, organizers have brought some new and exciting events into the schedule: on Saturday evening, the Williamson Historical Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council will present History Alive with Charles Schulz at the Mountaineer hotel. History Alive is a program in which scholars from throughout West Virginia portray historical figures. Every History Alive presentation includes a monologue from the performer and a discussion with the historical figure.
For people around Williamson, the event is an important way to bring the community together. “The people in the area look forward to the annual events and the people who gather in downtown Williamson every year,” says Jada. To learn more about the King Coal festival and read a full schedule of the weekend’s events, visit their Facebook page.