Here’s a rundown of events for the 124th Miners Day celebration, which features some changes
What: Park City Miners Day Celebration
When: Monday, Sept. 2
Where: City Park and Main Street
How much: Free
Park City’s Miners Day celebration, which traditionally falls on Labor Day and is organized by Park City Rotary, is going through some changes for the better this year, says event chairman Canice Harte.
One change surrounds the day’s opening breakfast. St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church has waived the $5 fee this year. (See accompanying story).
Another change centers on the traditional 5K run, he said.
A Rotary club, the Twilight Rotary Club, will organize the event, Harte said.
“They’ve put a lot of energy into this event and are now calling it the Bark City 5K,” he said.
As its name implies, dogs are welcome to run the course with their owners.
“The dogs do need to be on leashes,” Harte said. “And there will be water and treats for the dogs, as well as the humans, at the aid stations along the route.”
The changes continue with the unveiling of a new track for the annual Running of the Balls, where a load of golf balls are let loose down Main Street, he said.
“Over the years, we have increased the number of balls that we sell and release, and the amount of golf balls has exceeded the old track’s capacity,” Harte said. “The balls jump the track and end up in the crowd.”
The new track, built by Harte’s engineer friend Mike Barkalo, is made with welded aluminum and surrounded by two-foot panels.
“We’ve come a long ways from an upside-down rain gutter,” Harte said. “And since the new track is higher than in the past, we are able to offer sponsorship opportunities to people. They can have their business or organization advertised on the panels.”
Although the track is new, the purpose of the balls is still to raise funds. Members of the public can purchase a ball for $5 or buy five balls for $20.
The Running of the balls raises about $40,000 each year, and all of the money will go to Park City Rotary grants that are given out to local nonprofits and charities, Harte said.
People can buy the golf balls three ways: at the Park Silly Sunday Market, online and from a Rotarian on Monday morning, according to Harte.
“In fact, we usually sell one third of the total balls just before we let them loose,” he said. “It’s crazy intense.”
In addition to the new track, the Running of the Balls is changing its time from 10:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Harte said.
“We’re doing this to make sure the Miners Day parade starts at on time at 11 o’clock,” he said.
The parade, which will feature more than 140 floats made by local residents, businesses and nonprofits, will start with the traditional commemorative Air Force flyover, Harte said.
The parade route will run from the top of Main to Heber Avenue, where it turns left and proceeds down Park Avenue to end at City Park by Miners Hospital, Harte said.
“From there, we’ll have music, food and children’s games, including three-legged and sack races,” he said.
Live music, programmed by Mountain Town Stages, will be performed by Salt Lake’s Jake and the Heist, and Park City’s Electric Moose Band.
The food service this year is also new. Park City Rotary has signed up three food trucks: Freshies, Sushi Burrito and Fiore Pizza, Harte said.
The mucking and drilling contest will begin at 2 p.m. in City Park’s parking lot.
“This is something that is unique to mining towns,” Harte said. “A group of miners would drill holes in the rock and fill them with dynamite. After they detonated it, another group of miners would go in a clear out the ore.”
There won’t be any exploding dynamite, Harte said with a laugh.
“But we’ll show the crowd what mucking and drilling is,” he said. “Our mines were still active not that long ago, and we do have former miners who still live here.”
The day will end with a skateboard jam at the skate park.
“That pretty much sums up Miners Day,” Harte said. “It’s a special day in Park City, because while we love all of our holidays, Miners Day is the one that feels really local. It’s nice to have something that celebrates our history.”
Miners Day started in 1896, according to research by Park City Museum researcher Sally Elliott.
That’s when a crowd of 450 workers with the Western Federation of Miners walked down from the union headquarters at the top of Park City’s main street in what is thought to be the first Miners Union Parade, Elliott’s research uncovered.
“That’s what really started it, and that puts us at 124 years,” Harte said. “We’re lucky to have been able to celebrate something that is so local for so long.”
“When you look back at the history of Park City, you will see it was a working community, and a lot of the wealth of day — mine owners and investors — lived outside the area,” he said. “So, Miners Day has always been a celebration of the community and the people who make up the community.”
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