COVID-19 won’t stop the annual Running of the Balls
What: Miners Day Running of the Balls
When: 10:30 a.m. on PCTV
Cost: Free to view; $100 to buy a ball
Although COVID-19 has taken out the 125th Miners Day parade, the mucking and drilling contest and children’s games in City Park, it hasn’t forced the cancellation of the Running of the Balls.
This long-time tradition will be held virtually, according to Tom Kelly, spokesman for the Park City Rotary club.
Instead of watching thousands of yellow golf balls run down a track on Main Street, Parkites will be able to tune into Park City Television at 10:30 a.m. on Monday to watch a 30-minute program about the history of Miners Day that will feature old videos of the mucking and drilling contest and past parades, according to Kelly.
“The program will culminate with a televised Running of the Balls that we already filmed,” he said. “We filmed it last Sunday morning, before Main Street opened to pedestrians, and I think once we put the program together, it will be fun for people to watch.”
The Park City Rotary Club knew the annual Miners Day Running of the Balls, which raises funds for the club’s grant program, would be a little different this year, due to the novel coronavirus, Kelly said.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while and we knew we’d have a challenge to run Miners Day as we know it,” Kelly said. “Running of the Balls is important to us, because of all the Miners Day activities, it’s the one that brings in money that allows our Rotary Club to give grants to nonprofits in the community. So we came up with this idea earlier this summer of what we could do.”
As in the past, the public will still be able to purchase balls, Kelly said.
Balls are available for $100 a piece online at parkcityminersday.org/buyballs through Monday, or until the balls run out, he said.
“We did the math differently this year,” Kelly said about the increased price.
In the past, the Rotary Club would sell one ball for $5, and would have a total of 10,000 balls rolling down Main Street.
“That would bring in $45,000,” he said. “So we thought why don’t we sell 300 balls this year, and sell them for $100, which would still bring in $30,000.”
All the money will be doled out in grants for local nonprofits, Kelly said.
“The nonprofits are why we didn’t want to stop the Running of the Balls this year,” he said. “If we eliminated Miners Day, fine, but if we eliminated the Running of the Balls, we wouldn’t have money to give to the nonprofits, which is so important to us, particularly during COVID.”
Still, as restrictive as the COVID-19 social distancing protocols have been, this new way of life has boosted Park City Rotary Club’s activity, Kelly said.
“When we moved our meetings online, we found that we still maintain the camaraderie in the club, but that our service level in the community increased,” he said. “We found different ways to serve the community, and we have been able to get together in socially appropriate ways. So, in many ways COVID has rejuvenated our club.”
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Jonathan Kolon will honor Park City and mark the trials the country has gone through with COVID-19 when he releases his new song “This Highway Ends” on April 30.