2019 Old King Coal Paul Wilburn

Paul Wilburn is 2019 Old King Coal

Paul Wilburn is 2019 Old King Coal  Submitted by Marcia Raubach, OKC Festival Publicity Director       

Eighty-eight-year-old Paul Wilburn of West Frankfort has been named 2019 Old King Coal and will reign over the Old King Coal Festival May 9 to 11 in downtown West Frankfort.   Wilburn was officially crowned this year's Old King Coal along with the naming of 2019 Princess Flame at the Princess Flame Scholarship Pageant Saturday, April 6 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Frankfort Community High School auditorium. Pre-Teen Princess Flame and Teen Princess Flame also were awarded during the ceremony. Old King Coal and the Princess Flame court will reign over the three-day festival in May.   

Wilburn spent many of his 88 years in and around coal mining after beginning his work in the mining industries in September 1952. He retired in 1994. Both Arch of Illinois and UMWA District 12 presented him with awards for recognition of his years of faithful service. In 2018, Wilburn was awarded his 50 year UMWA pin.   

The Old King Coal Festival will kick off Thursday, May 9 and will offer free entertainment each evening from the main stage from Cadillac Jones, Jake Hoult Band, Jonathan Len and Double Edge Band, Michael St. Angel and Tribute to Elvis, and Terry Lee and the Rockaboogie Band. Festival-goers will also enjoy the famous Luehrs Ideal Rides Midway, the Old King Coal Parade, the Coal Miners Memorial Service, along with plenty of food and games for all the family. For a complete schedule of events, go to


OKC Nomination Form (pdf)