23rd annual CoalFest set for May 24-25

Brilliant CoalFest T-shirts are in stock. Get yours now to wear to the festival or pick one up on Friday and Saturday, May 24-25 at the 23rd annual event. Shown displaying a few examples are (from left) town water clerk Ann Davis, town clerk Jessica Lee and town water clerk Brittany Reid. The t-shirts vary in cost according to size and color from $10 to $20. Besides those shown, other colors include black, gray and pink.

By Kathryn “Chazz” Hirschfeld
Staff writer
BRILLIANT - Many Marion Countains know that Brilliant’s CoalFest is one of the best festivals in the area.
Now, all of Alabama knows it, too, with the festival’s number one pick of “10 festivals you need to see this summer” by the
Bama Buzz (thebamabuzz.com).
Featuring great live music, a main street lined on both sides with vendors and fun for all ages, the 23rd Annual CoalFest is not to be missed on Friday and Saturday, May 24-25.
Friday’s festival hours begin at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the festivities start at 9 a.m.
Brilliant Mayor Perry Franks provided a warm welcome to attendees during a recent phone interview.
“I’d like to invite everybody to come up and have a good fun-filled day with us,” he said. “We’ll have great music, and we’ll have a lot of vendors.
“We have 70-something spaces already sold (as of May 6), and it’s growing by the day. We’ll have a lot of good food. And we’ll have a good car show and a motorcycle ride.”
The mayor also thanked those involved behind-the-scenes who help to make the festival possible.
“I’d like to send a shout out to the chamber for the job they do with CoalFest,” Franks said. “And to the people who do the motorcycle and the car show.
“CoalFest seems like it’s growing and getting bigger and bigger every year. And it keeps getting better every year, too.”

Benefit bike ride
Hosted by the Marion County Iron Angels, the CoalFest Benefit Ride will be held in 2024 to benefit Amanda Sanderson, who is battling breast cancer.
“The ride is to raise money for Amanda to help offset some of her costs and bills,” Franks said.
Registration for the ride is at 9 a.m. at 915 Main Street, Brilliant, 35548. Kickstands go up at 10:30 a.m.
The cost is $20 per ride and $5 for passengers. A lunch will be provided for participants. Included in the bike ride cost will be door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.
CoalFest Car Show
All vehicles are welcome at the annual Brilliant CoalFest Car Show, with all proceeds and donations going to the Brilliant High School Track Team.
Help support the school and track  team on Saturday, May 25. The fee to enter the first vehicle is $20, with additional vehicles by the same owner costing $10 each.
There is a separate car class and truck class. The show is located on Main Street.
A door prize will be awarded at 10:30 a.m. The car show awards and a 50/50 drawing will take place at noon.

Great lineup
of musical acts
CoalFest’s entertainment coordinator for many years has been Wendell Franks. He looks for the biggest and best local and national acts and then brings them to town.
He said live music hours are 5-10 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“On Friday night, the band we have coming in is Area 51,” Wendell said. “They’re one of the top bands in Memphis, Tenn.
“They do a lot of the 70s and 80s rock. It’s going to be a really special show with those guys coming in. We’re going to have different kinds of music we haven’t had before.
“We also have Mike Mayhall from the band Tremayne coming in. He’s doing an acoustic set on Friday night.
“And Lloyd Moses will start the show Friday afternoon. He’s played every year we’ve had CoalFest.”
On Saturday morning, Wendell said Jeff Henson and Jordan Denton from Muscle Shoals will perform an acoustic set.
“Then we have The Georgia Thunderbolts,” he noted. “They’re kind of an up-and-coming Southern Rock band. They’ve been on tour with Blackberry Smoke, Black Stone Cherry and the Kentucky HeadHunters.
“They’ve had a European tour, too. They’re a pretty big band. They’re a Southern Rock, sort of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers-type band.
“And then we’ll have country superstar Lee Roy Parnell. He’s had eight albums, and more than 20 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks.
“Some of his top hits (number two on the charts) include ‘What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am,’ ‘Tender Moment’ and ‘A Little Bit of You.’
“Some people may know him from the song and music video ‘On the road.’”

Contact information
For more information on CoalFest, interested persons can call Brilliant Town Hall at 205-465-2281 or visit them on Facebook at BrilliantAlabamaCoalFest.

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