The “Mines Memorial Service” held on the front steps and lawn of the Boone County Courthouse in Madison included music, patriotic ceremonies and a remembrance ceremony for the seven coal miners that have died in West Virginia in the past year.
The Boone Co. Civil Air Patrol Squadron hung the Coal Festival Flag and the Madison VFW Post 5578 posted the colors with the assistance of the Post 5578 Woman's Auxiliary.
Speakers included Festival President Joy Underwood, Madison City Councilwoman Renee Hager, Dr. Frank Frye of the Madison United Methodist Church, WV State Police Chaplin James Mitchell, Delores Cook, Larry Lodato, Jimbo Clendenen and state Sen. Ron Stollings (D-Boone).
Musical performances by James Mitchell and Be Be Cole.
Maxine Cole-Tinnel oversaw the transfer of the WV Coal Festival title and crown from 2010's winner Arianna Bailey to the 2011 Miss Coal Festival Hannah McComas. Mrs. WV Coal Festival Tammy Bailey, Miss Teen WV Coal Festival Alexis Rutter.
2010 Miss WV Coal Festival Arianna Bailey returned as the 2011 Ms. Coal Festival winner.
The opening ceremonies concluded with Jimbo Clendenen, son of recently departed Boone County icon George “Crook” Clendenen, lighting the flame in front of the coal miner statue on the courthouse lawn.
Coal miners lost on the job over the past year were remembered at the WV Coal Festival opening ceremonies.
“We have lost seven brave, hard working souls in the past year in the coal mines of West Virginia,” said WV State Police Chaplin James Mitchell. “One is too many.”
Coal Festival Vice President Delores Cook and Festival Secretary Larry Lodato read the name of the deceased, lit a candle and let loose a balloon for every coal miner lost.
In the past year, we have lost the following seven coal miners on the job. They were: Wilbert R. Starcher died July 1, 2010, White Buck Coal Company in Rupert,WV; Jesse Adkins died July 29, 2010, Consolidated Energy, Inc of Fairview, WV; William R Dooley died October 11, 2010, Alpha Natural resources of Scarbro, WV; Charles Quals died December 4, 2010, Massey Energy Company of Scarbro, WV; John Lester, Jr died January 27, 2011, Baylor Mining Inc of New Richmond, WV; Kevin Cambell died February 3, 2011, Consol Energy Inc of Camron, WV; and Richard L Young died April 14, 2011, Apogee Coal LLC of Guyan, WV.
Wednesday evening's activities also included the coal museum, carnival rides and games, mining equipment displays and gospel music on the main stage.
Thursday, Aly-An and Marty Stuart will be the musical acts. Friday's activities include local groups and the Avalon's Oldies Group on the main stage with fireworks at 11pm.
Saturday adds the Grand Parade at 2pm, local acts and the group Exile on the Main Stage in downtown Madison at 9:30 p.m.