It's been that way since 1941 when the city decided to mix things up a bit. Before that, Miner's Day was held every June 13, since 1898, said Joe Rametta, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Park City.
"The mining company started it as a way to get the miners out from the bottom of the mines to celebrate the town's mining heritage," said Rametta who is also the chairman of the Miner's Day Celebration that will be held Sept. 3 in City Park. "The event was basically a big picnic, just like we do today in the park, for miners and their families. It was a funky, hometown and day-long celebration and event that featured a parade, a barbecue and the mucking and drilling competition."
The celebration on Monday will start off with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. presented by St. Mary's Catholic Church. Cost is $5 per person and children ages four and younger eat for free.
"St. Mary's has been doing that for as long as I can remember," Rametta said. "It's a major fundraiser for them as well and we're happy to have them aboard all these years."
The Funky 5K running race, sponsored by Art-Kids, will follow the breakfast..
"For the past couple of years, runners left City Park and went around Old Town and finished on Main Street," Rametta said. "That was a tough course and wasn't as fun as it could have been. So, the run has been rerouted. This year the run will start and finish by the skateboard park. It will go out to the Rail Trail and wind through Park Meadows and Round Valley and come back to City Park."
From there, the crowd will migrate to Main Street for the annual Running of the Balls, where up to 5,000 yellow golf balls will be unleashed on a track that will run from Cows Ice Cream and Coffee to the Post Office.
"The Running of the Balls took on a life of its own," Rametta said. "It is a take off of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and the rubber-duck race in Reno, Nevada, where thousands of rubber ducks are sent down the Truckee River.
"Years ago, we used to run tennis balls, but there were a couple of times when the weather was bad and they got wet," he said. "We found it takes a long time for 3,000 to 5,000 tennis balls to dry."
The Running of the Balls is the Rotary Club of Park City's biggest fundraiser of the year. People can purchase a ball for $5 or they can buy five for $20.
"They can be bought at Wells Fargo Bank or from any of the Park City Rotary Club members," Rametta said. "To be honest, though, the majority of the balls are sold the day of the event and we'll have about 30 volunteers walking up and down Main Street hawking balls just before they're scheduled to be released."
All the money raised from ball purchases will go directly into the Rotary Club's grants program, which benefits the Summit County nonprofit organizations such as the People's Health Clinic, Friends of Animals Utah, Recycle Utah, Mountain Town Music and others, Rametta said.
"We have given $25,000 to nonprofits each year for the past four years," he said.
Once the track is cleared from the street, two antique biplanes will do a flyover and signal the start of the Miner's Day Parade.
"Since it's an election year, we'll have an abundance of politicians who will appear in the parade," Rametta said. "That's something that is significantly different than last year.
"Politicians aren't allowed to march in the Fourth of July Parade, so this is their opportunity to get in front of the public," he said. "It works out better for them because Miner's Day is closer to the election."
Another new addition this year will be an iron lung display.
"Many years ago, Rotary International, which has hundreds and thousands of members all over the globe, made it one of their goals to eradicate polio around the world," Rametta explained. "Because of that, the U.S. has been free of polio for decades."
Iron lungs were used to treat polio victims.
"The lung would not only help people suffering from the disease to breathe, but also to introduce medications into their bodies," Rametta said. "Rotary International has an old iron lung that will be on display next to the Miners Hospital. All those of us who remember how polio was a horrible, debilitating disease will appreciate this exhibit."
Of course, the big attraction of the day is the Mucking and Drilling Contest that will take place back at City Park at 2 p.m.
"When the contest first started, real rocks were used for the contest," Rametta said. "For the past few years, we have used concrete, but this year, we are going to use a 17,000-pound sandstone provided by Delta Stone in Heber."
In addition to the contest, City Park offers a flurry of children's activities and a barbecue lunch, which will be sponsored by The Park City Medical Center.
"The Winter Sports Park provides the bounce house, which is a hoot for the kids and we'll have face painting and games that take place on the lawn south of the Miners Hospital," Rametta said.
The day will be highlighted by live music performed by Utah folk-rockers Desert Noises and instrumental groove players The Chickens.
"Mountain Town Music is producing the live music," Rametta said. "The music will start around 11:30 in the morning and run until 5 o'clock."
This year marks Rametta's fifth year as Miner's Day chairman.
"It takes a lot of work to get things organized," he said. "Although we hold fundraisers and planning meetings throughout the year, we start working in earnest in June. So, I eat, live and breathe Miner's Day all summer long."
The 115th annual Miner's Day Celebration will take place Monday, Sept. 3, beginning with a pancake breakfast in City Park at 7 a.m. (See story titled "Miner's Day Schedule" for list of activities) For more information, visit www.parkcityrotary.com .