In addition to the all the usual goings-on connected with the opening of the annual Old King Coal Festival, West Frankfort residents will have another much-anticipated event to look forward to this week—the dedication of Coal Miners Memorial Park.
Workers and volunteers have worked diligently in recent weeks to prepare the park for its public debut, and having just been been fitted with a lush, bright green layer of fresh sod, it should be grand initial appearance this Thursday, at 5:30 p.m.
Among the dignitaries expected at Thursday night's opening are former U.S. Congressman Ken Gray, as well as current Ill. Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion). Park committee member Kathy Crawford said the opening ceremony will honor past and present coal miners, as well as the crowning of the 2010 Old King Coal, Ronald Tate, of West Frankfort.
The park's "Walk of Fame" will also be dedicated at the ceremony, serving as lasting reminder of the civic contributions made by such West Frankfort citizens as Congressman Gray, L. Goebel Patton and Rich Voorhees.
The highlight of the evening will be the official unveiling and dedication of the park itself. The park is the culmination of a brainchild forged several years ago by Voorhees, Sharon Ossig and Tracy Craig, who together formed a committee to move the idea forward.
For more on this week's Old King Coal activities, including a schedule of events, check out a print copy of Tuesday's Daily American.