Park City celebrates Miners Day, a 120-year-old tradition
Event includes parades, games and mucking-and-drilling
What started as Miners Union Day in 1898 as a way to honor Park City’s miners and get them out of the silver mines and give them a day off, has become a day of celebration for local residents and visitors.
During the 1940s, Miners Union Day was combined with Labor Day, and has remained that way ever since, said Park City Rotary Club member Nancy Dalaska, the chairwoman of Miners Day 2017.
“This is our 120th year,” Dalaska said during an interview with The Park Record. “That’s pretty great. How many towns can say they’ve done something for 120 years?”
This year’s event will be held on Monday, Sept. 4, and will include favorite activities such as the breakfast at City Park, the Miners Day parade on Main Street, the mucking- and-drilling contest and the skateboard bowl jam.
Dalaska said, due to demand, there will be a few changes to these big events, such as the Running of the Balls, which will feature a load of marked yellow golf balls that are launched out of a chute to roll down an enclosed track on Main Street.
“Running of the Balls is going to be bigger than ever,” Dalaska said. “Since we sold out of the balls last year, we added more this year. So the total will be 9,000-plus.”
The public can purchase a single ball for $5, or five for $20. The money will go toward the Park City Rotary Club’s grant program. Tbose who buy a ball have the opportunity to win prizes.
“This is the Park City Rotary’s biggest fundraiser of the year,” Dalaska said. “We make most of our money when people purchase the balls, and the money will be distributed to local charities.
Balls can be purchased from Park City Rotary Club members Monday morning, or at the Rotary Club’s kiosk at the Park Silly Sunday Market on Sept. 3.
“We’ll also be selling balls at Deer Valley that night before the Josh Turner concert,” Dalaska said. “It’s always a scene when the 9,000-plus yellow golf balls roll down Main Street.”
Miners Day wouldn’t be complete without the Miners Day parade that will start at 11 a.m., right after the Running of the Balls.
“This year will be a good parade year because it’s an election year for both City Council and Mayor,” Dalaska said. “We’ll have some candidates in it for sure.”
Before the Main Street events, Miners Day starts with a breakfast at City Park cooked by volunteers from St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
The cost of the breakfast is $5 per person, and children ages four and younger get to eat for free.
The money will benefit St. Mary’s religious education programs.
“The morning will also include the 5K fun run,” Dalaska said.
Registration is $25 for adults and $15 for ages 18 and younger.
“We had an increased number of runners last year, Dalaska said. “I think we had several hundred participants.”
Runners can register up to Sunday by visiting http://www.parkcityminersday.org/miners-day-5k-run.
Bib pickup will be from 7-7:45 a.m. on Monday and the race will start at 8 a.m.
Strollers will be allowed and will start behind single runners. No dogs will be allowed due to safety concerns.
After the Main Street events, Miners Day will return to City Park for a barbecue lunch provided by Kumbayah Kitchen from noon to 3 p.m.
Beer will be available for sale to those with a valid ID.
“We will also have some kids activities,” Dalaska said.
Those activities will include
- Pony Rides
- Petting Zoo With exotic animals
- Epic bouncy houses
- Climbing wall
- Face painting
- Henna tattoos
- Kids builder workshop
- Dogs and cats pet adoption event
- Soccer games
- Free posters
- A fire truck
- Snow cones
- Gourmet cotton candy
“We’ll also have races and games for kids as well,” Dalaska said.
One of the day’s highlights is the mucking and drilling contest.
During the mucking, competitors, who are timed, use heavy machinery to load rocks, or muck, which is broken up ore, into a bucket. Competitors quickly load that ore into an ore cart and dump it as quickly as possible.
Drilling competitors use a huge drill and hoses to see how far they can drill two holes in the shortest amount of time.
“This shows what the miners did when they were in the mines,” Dalaska said. “It is such a sight to see.”
R.J. Masonry and Ramco Custom Builders will donate the stone used for the contest. Kukal Cranes will haul it into place.
“This is a crowd favorite, and it’s very serious,” Dalaska said. “These guys use heavy machinery to do this and you need experience to do it.”
Miners Day will end with the skateboard bowl jam at Skateboard Park.
“We started this a few years ago, and it’s super fun to watch,” Dalaska said.
While many of the events remain the same for the 120th Miners Day celebration, Dalaska and the Park City Rotary have made some other subtle changes.
“We will add a bicycle valet that will be located behind Miners Hospital by the bike path,” Dalaska said. “The Park City High School’s Interact Club, which is part of Park City Rotary, will run the bike valet service. The valet is free, but donations will be accepted, because it is a fundraiser for their club.”
Dalaska said the Rotary Club hopes to significantly reduce Miners Day waste this year.
“Kate McChesney, [the executive director] of the Park Silly Sunday Market, is helping us with that,” Dalaska said. “She’s got it down because the Silly Market is a zero-waste event, and she will set up the Silly Market’s recycling system and train our volunteers and bring her own volunteers.
“I don’t know if we can become zero-waste this year, but we will sure try.”
The zero-waste idea was also presented to Miners Day vendors.
“We asked them not to use Styrofoam or plastic if they possibly could,” Dalaska said. “Even with St. Mary’s will use paper coffee cups and things like that for the breakfast.”
This year also marks the first time the advertising was done in English and Spanish.
“We printed our promotional posters in both languages, and our event schedule online is both in English and Spanish,” Dalaska said. “We want to make it more friendly for the whole community.”
Dalaska, who is taking over the organization of Miners Day for the first time this year, thanked Paul Hewitt, the former Miners Day chairman.
“We worked together for a full year before he handed it off to me,” she said. “I’m also thankful for the Rotarians who have done this for years. They know where to get the rock, and mucking and drilling equipment. This is truly a Park City event. It’s about our mining heritage.”
Park City Miners Day celebration will run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4, in Park City. For information, visit http://www.parkcityminersday.org.
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