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Plot & Details

Actress Sara Rush travels back to her hometown of Carmichaels, PA to offer a humorous account of small-town America in this documentary tracing her childhood in the quiet, coal mining community and her eventual crowning as the "Coal Queen" in the annual Coal Queen Pageant, which celebrated its fiftieth year in August of 2003. A modest town with a population of 556, Carmichael is a community that was shaped by coal mining. After speaking with the colorful characters who populate Carmichael, Rush next travels to the State Theater in nearby Uniontown - where rehearsals are already underway for the latest Coal Queen pageant and contestants from fourteen nearby schools take part in talent, question-and-answer, and evening gown competitions in hopes of brining home the prized crown. In contrasting the trials of the pageant participants with the lives of the laborers who toil under the earth day after day, Rush offers a revealing look at a community which chooses to hold out hope even in their darkest hours.

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