Miner’s Day celebrates 119 years of tradition
September 2, 2016
Park City has celebrated Miners Day since 1898. It was a day when the mining companies brought the miners out from the mines to celebrate their work and heritage.
For decades Miners Day was held June 13, until 1941, when the date shifted to Labor Day, said Paul Hewitt., chairman of the 119th Miners Day Festival and Parade, and member of the Park City Rotary Club.
"This is the 119th event and there aren't very many events that have celebrated for that long," Hewitt told The Park Record.
The club has organized Miners Day for as long as Hewitt can remember and he is looking forward to this year's event.
"The club wants to make a positive impact in the community," he said. "The thing is, that this is not about any individual. It's about the entire group that makes this work."
The festivities will begin with a pancake breakfast served by St. Mary's Catholic Church at City Park at 7:30 p.m.
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The cost is $5 per person and the money will help benefit the church's religious education programs.
Thirty minutes after the first flapjack hits the plate, the rotary club will start the Miners Day 5K.
"The race will start at City Park and wind through Park City's trail network and finish back at the park," Hewitt said.
The racing bib pickup will be between 7 a.m. and 7:45 a.m., and there will be day-of registration. The entry fee for adults is $25 and the entry fee for youths younger than 18 is $15.
Runners are encouraged to wear costumes during the run, which raises money that the rotary club donates to local nonprofits.
While strollers are welcome in the race, dogs and other pets aren't due to safety issues. according to Hewitt.
From City Park, the crowd will make its way to Main Street for the annual Running of the Balls and the Miners Day Parade.
Those events kick off with an airplane flyover around 10:45 a.m.
The Running of the Balls, which sees between 5,000 and 8,000 yellow golf balls racing down a track in the middle of Main Street, was inspired by the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and the rubber-duck race in Reno, Nevada.
"It's amazing to see 8,000 golf balls run down a track on Main Street," Hewitt said. "This is always a fun event for the kids."
The Running of the Balls is another way the Park City Rotary Club raises money for grants it gives to nonprofits, according to Hewitt.
A single ball is $5 and a group of five is $20.
"People can purchase balls from Rotarians at the Park Silly Sunday Market on Sunday or track us down Miners Day morning," Hewitt said.
The Miners Day Parade will begin as soon as the track is taken down.
"Last year there was 45 entries," Hewitt said. "My wife Heidi had been organizing the parade for the past four years and she averages between 35 to 45 entries per year."
Since this is a political year, there will be more entries due to the candidates.
"They aren't allowed to enter the Fourth of July parade, so they are able to get into the Miners Day one instead," Hewitt explained.
After the parade the celebration returns to City Park for a barbecue, live music by the Parlour Hounds and the Soulistics, kids races, the mucking and drilling contest and the skateboard bowl jam.
"The mucking and drilling contest will be held at the skatepark parking lot," Hewitt said.
The contest shows how miners harvested ore from the mines, but instead of silver ore, competitors will bore through a 17,000 piece of sandstone, which is donated by Delta Stone.
"We used to be able to place the stone in the park after the contest, but there are so many of them now, that the stone is taken to one of the Rotarians' homes," Hewitt said.
The day will end with the skateboard bowl jam at the skate park.
The jam will feature contests in amateur and pro divisions and mixes spun by DJ Cosmos.
Registration is from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. The entry fee is $20 in advance at PC MARC, and $25 the day of the event. Helmets are required.
"The City puts that on," Hewitt said. "This is the fourth year they've done it and it's become a great success."
This year marks Hewitt's last as chairman.
"It's been an honor," he said. "In fact, the whole Park City Rotary Club feels that honor, because it's not just me that puts it all together.
"I make a bunch of phone calls and organize the port-a-potties and the ATMs, but every Rotarian has a different duty," he said. "There are a lot of moving parts, and this is something that needs everyone to be all in."
Hewitt, who said he would still be deep in helping with the event next year, found it hard to name his favorite part of the celebration, but did say, the moments just before the Running of the Balls and parade are special.
"You know it's going to be a success when the airplane flyovers take off," he said. "When you see those planes stream down, you know all the work has been done and it will be a great day."
The 119th Miners Day Celebration will feature a pancake breakfast, a 5K race, the running of the balls, parade on Main Street, live music, children's games, the mucking and drilling competition and a skateboard bowl jam. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityminersday.org.
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