Miners Day unearths Park City’s heritage with loads of fun

Running of the Balls adds new element this year

Labor Day is known as Miners Day in Park City, and it’s a day where the town gets together to celebrate its mining history and heritage.
Park Record file photo by Tanzi Propst

In Park City, Labor Day is known as Miners Day.

This year the town will get together on Monday, Sept. 4, to celebrate its mining heritage with a parade, family-friendly activities, mucking and drilling demonstrations and the annual Running of the Balls, which features the release of more than 15,000 yellow balls down a track on Main Street.

To accommodate the parade and the Running of the Balls, Main Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to a Park City Municipal notice.

“Vehicles and parking will be removed from Main Street, Swede Alley, Swede Alley Surface Lots, Heber Avenue and Park Avenue [from 9th Street to 14th Street] on Monday,” the notice stated. “Traffic will be restricted throughout the event. No parking for event activities at the South End of City Park, the Library or on Sullivan Road.” (See additional parking and transit information in the accompanying box) 

The Running of the Balls, which is named after the Running of the Bulls tradition in Pamplona, Spain, is the Park City Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser, said Miners Day Event Chair Corrie Forsling, who is also the Park City Rotary Club treasurer.

“It’s when we send 15,000 yellow balls down a track on Main Street, and all the proceeds from selling the balls will benefit our community grant and scholarships programs,” she said.

The community grants are pulled from a fund that totals between $20,000 to $30,000, according to Forsling.

For these grants, Park City Rotary finds organizations with goals that align with Rotary International’s mission: “service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.”

“We also find organizations that can really benefit from funding, so a $5,000 grant would be really significant,” Forsling said.

The annual Running of the Balls is one of the highlights of Miners Day, which will take place this year on Monday, Sept. 4. More than 15,000 yellow golf balls are set loose down a Main Street track, and the public can purchase a ball for a chance to win prizes. The money from ball purchases will benefit Park City Rotary Club’s community grant and scholarships program.
Park Record file photo by Tanzi Propst

Park City Cooperative Preschool is an example of how organizations use these smaller grants, said Miners Day Public Relations Chair Bari Nan Rothchild, who is also a Park City Rotary Club member.

“Before I was a member of Park City Rotary, I was on the board of Park City Cooperative Preschool, and we received a grant from Rotary that allowed our tiny, little preschool to do an international service project,” she said. “So I was excited to become a member of Rotary because of its reputation for being able to funnel so much money into our community, while also creating support opportunities at all different levels — international, national, statewide and citywide.”

Every five years, Park City Rotary Club also gives out larger grants out of a pool that totals $100,000, Forsling said.

“We’re about to enter our large grant cycle and those grants can be between $20,000 to $50,000 each,” she said. “The last time we did a large grant funding, we supported the Children’s Justice Center, PC Tots and Peace House.” 

Balls for Running of the Balls may be purchased at $10 each, with packages available at 3 for $20, 8 for $50, and 20 for $100, by visiting Balls are also available for purchase on Main Street, on the day of the event.

“We will be at Park Silly Sunday Market on Sept. 3, and we will sell balls on the day right up to the last minute,” Forsling said.

In addition to the regular ball run down Main Street, Miners Day will feature a special ball run this year sponsored by Manscaped, a mens grooming company, according to Forsling.

“Rotary will sell 150 purple balls, half online before the event, and half on Main Street on Miners Day,” she said. “Each ball is $100 and two prizes valued at $1,000 will be awarded at the end of this run.”

Rotary will donate $1,000 from the proceeds to Manscaped’s We Save Balls initiative, which is a partnership with the Testicular Cancer Society, Forsling said.

“Those balls are available for purchase now,” she said. 

Mucking, shown, and drilling demonstrations are part of the Miners Day fun, and also showcase the hard work miners did to gather ore.
Park Record file photo by Tanzi Propst

The Running of the Balls is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m., just before the parade, Forsling said.

“We have more than 30 entries for the parade, and we included a special element this year,” she said. “We really wanted to combine Rotary’s service mission with the parade itself. So we decided to award a total of $5,000 for five category winners. So each winner will get $1,000.”

Those categories are:

  • Best Representation of Mining History
  • Best Commercial Entry
  • Best Community Entry
  • Most Original Entry
  • Fan Favorite

The first four categories will be decided by judges, and the fifth, the Fan Favorite, will be decided by attendees, Forsling said.

“We will pass out a QR code, and people can vote on their phones,” she said. “The float with the most votes will win.”

Half of the prize will go to the parade entrants, and half will go to the charity of their choice, as long as it is an operating 501(c)3 nonprofit that operates in Summit County, Forsling said. 

One of the other big highlights of Miners Day is the mucking and drilling demonstration.

During the mucking showcase, demonstrators use heavy machinery to load broken-up ore, or muck, into a bucket. And in the drilling competition, participants use large drills and hoses to bore two holes in a 10-ton piece of sandstone, Forsling said.

“These demonstrations will include presentations about what it took, physically, to actually do the mining,” she said. “Using that heavy equipment isn’t a skill that people are learning anymore. And these men who do the demonstration will not be around forever. So I encourage people to come to the event and watch something that is such a key part of our history. We’re so glad it’s part of our Miners Day lineup.”

The mucking and drilling event is inspiring, said Rothchild.

“When you think about how much labor went into the work, you understand the literal heavy lifting that went into creating this town,” she said. “We have had in this century alone so many different iterations of this town, and how people found their work and their joy. And what I love about Miners Day is that it’s a reminder that we’re a constantly evolving community. Every iteration is good, strong, positive and connected.”

The schedule for Miners Day 2023 

Free parking and transit

  • Richardson Flat Park-and-Ride: free parking with free transit (10-minute frequency)
  • Park City School District (Kearns Blvd.): free parking with free transit to/from Old Town
  • Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resorts: free parking with free transit to/from Old Town
  • Increased Transit routes with a bus lane on Deer Valley Drive. Check or for full schedules. 

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