Miners Day ready to rock Park City
September 4, 2015
On Monday, Park City will celebrate the 118th annual Miners Day, presented by the Park City Rotary.
The all-day event will feature breakfast, the Funky 5K/10K, the annual Running of the Balls, Miners Day parade, live music, food, drinks, mucking and drilling and a skateboard jam.
"It’s amazing to me because how many small cities in America can you go to that have a festival that’s 118 years old?" Miners Day Chairman Paul Hewitt told The Park Record. "It’s good, small-town American stuff."
Miners Day is a community-driven event that the town celebrates instead of Labor Day. It started in 1898 as a way to get the miners out of the mines for a big picnic and party and was originally celebrated in June, but was changed to the first Monday of September in 1941.
Like Labor Day, it not only pays tribute to workers, but also marks the end of summer, said Hewitt.
"It all starts in City Park with a breakfast served by St. Mary’s Catholic Church," he said. "It will then continue with the Funky 5K/10K run presented by Park City Running."
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The festivities will then move to Main Street for the Running of the Balls, a bi-plane flyover and the Miners Day parade.
The Running of the Balls is one of the ways the Park City Rotary raises money for the grants they give to nonprofits and other worthy causes, according to Hewitt.
"It’s amazing to see 8,000 golf balls run down a track on Main Street," he said. "This is always a fun event for the kids."
The balls cost $5 each or $20 for a group of five. Owners of the first balls through the chute at the bottom of Upper Main Street will win an array of prizes, including season ski passes, dinners and hotel stays, all donated by area businesses, Hewitt said.
Balls can be purchased at the Park City Rotary Club kiosk at the Park Silly Sunday Market this weekend, he said.
"People can also purchase a ball from a Rotary Club member on Miners Day morning," he said. "Last year, the Park City Rotary gave out about $30,000 in grants. That money was raised in part through the Running of the Balls and our sponsors."
Another highlight of the day is the parade.
"My wife, Heidi, took on organizing the parade three years ago and the entries include everything from floats, bicycles, bands, musicians and cars," Hewitt said. "We had three car clubs last year, but we had to limit the cars because we don’t want the parade to turn into just a car parade. So, she has two car clubs who are going to be part of it this year.
"In addition to sifting through parade applications, Heidi is also in charge of making sure the entrants are spaced well and that the announcers know what to say when they introduce these people."
After the parade, the crowd will converge back at City Park for an afternoon of food, games, sack races and live music.
"Brian Richards, [director] of Mountain Town Music always picks some bands for us to look at," Hewitt said. "This year, we’ll have the Soulistics and the Parlour Hounds. I’ve seen both bands and they are very entertaining."
The food will be organized by Hans Feugi, owner of Grub Steak.
"He has been organizing the food and doing the cooking for years now," Hewitt said. Wasatch Brew Pub provides the beer and there will be a Coca-Cola trailer serving soft drinks.
"The sack races are organized by Tom Kelly from the U.S. Ski Team, and the kids will get prizes," Hewitt said.
The afternoon’s main event is the mucking and drilling contest where contestants show what the miners did in the underground caverns every day.
"Delta Stone will donate the 17,000-pound sandstone for the event," Hewitt said.
Capping off the day will be the Skateboard Pro Jam that was introduced two years ago.
Tate Shaw of Park City Recreation will host that event, which will take place at the skateboard park.
"He’s the one who puts on the Jam," Hewitt said. "It’s a great way to end Miners Day."
Last year, more than 17,000 people attended the festivities, Hewitt said.
"We have a guesstimate from the city that we will have close to that many people again if the weather holds out," he said. "This has grown over the years and even since the time I first took over as chair three years ago. In fact, we had approximately 8,000 or 10,000 less that year.
"It is a daunting task and there are a lot of little things to put together, from the installing the ATM machines to the bathrooms and organizing the garbage collections," Hewitt said. "But we have great committees and committee chairs who help out. We also have many volunteers who help, so it’s not as daunting as it could be."
Hewitt wants to make this year’s festival the best it can be.
"That number 118 keeps me coming back to make sure we organize a great event and do it right," he said. "This is a very impressive tradition for Park City and the last thing I want to be is a bad steward. I tell the committees that we need to be good stewards of this incredible thing. This is very important to all of us."
The 118th Miners Day Schedule
The 118th Miners Day Celebration will be held on Monday, Sept. 7. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityrotary.com .
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