Each year, the community of Brilliant pays tribute to its roots in the coal mining industry with a free festival filling the downtown area with two days of family fun. Always held the weekend before Memorial Day, Coal Fest offers live music, games including a checkers match with champion Larry Pollard, a look into the coal mining days, activities for children, arts and crafts, and more throughout Main Street in downtown Brilliant.
The annual event kicks off on Friday around 5 p.m. with live music featuring some of the region’s best performers, and the festivities continue on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. with family-friendly activities and more live music.
Brilliant is home to the state and national checkers champion, Larry Pollard. Each year, Pollard challenge local politicians to a friendly checkers match. The historic Train Depot located in City Park offers free guided tours (donations accepted) giving an up close look at many artifacts of the early history of coal mining in Brilliant and Brilliant Methodist Church, located on Main Street, is open for tours. A stop on the Hallelujah Trail, Brilliant Methodist Church was built by local coal miners and remains an iconic cornerstone of the town. Other activities include an antique car show, a motorcycle ride to raise funds for a local family in need, a horseshoe tournament, arts and crafts, and a kid’s area with games, train rides and inflatables.
Shuttle service is provided free of charge from the downtown area to City Park, Brilliant Methodist Church and the Train Depot. Admission is free. A nominal fee is charged to participate in some of the children’s activities. The two-day event typically wraps up around 5 p.m. on Saturday.