Have a ball on Miner’s Day
September 1, 2009
For 112 years, Labor Day has had a unique twist in Park City. Miners’ Day, a celebration of Park City’s original livelihood, falls on Sept. 7 this year, and the local chapter of Rotary International has been in planning mode for weeks. The event will feature traditional activities such as the pancake breakfast, Running of the Balls, Funky Old Miners’ Day Parade, softball tournament, and mucking and drilling competition, along with some new attractions.
According to Joe Rametta, chairman of the celebration, this year’s festivities will focus more on kids and families than in years past. Added kid-friendly activities will include face painting, a bounce house, and clowns specializing in balloon animals.
The event will also feature more live music with two bands performing at the gazebo in City Park. Mountain Town Music is presenting the lineup, which starts at 11:15 a.m. with Salt Lake City-based group JEBU filling the air with sounds of reggae and funk. From 2:45 to 5 p.m., national touring band The Pimps of Joytime takes the stage, bringing their Brooklyn roots to the mountains.
"We’re throwing a big soul/funk party," says Mountain Town Music executive director Brian Richards. "We’re really trying to revive the music in the park and create an atmosphere where people want to stay and hang out all day."
Miners’ Day activities kick off at 7 a.m. at City Park with a pancake breakfast sponsored by St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Bring a hearty appetite for the Funky 5K Run, which starts at 8:30 a.m. This year’s run is sponsored by the Youth WinterSports Alliance, and proceeds will go toward supporting local programs such as the Park City Ski and Snowboard Teams, the Ice Miners’ Youth Hockey team, the Wasatch Luge Club and the Utah Olympic Park Bobsled & Skeleton Development Program.
At 10:45 a.m., about 3,000 golf balls will be released onto a track that runs down the middle of Main Street for the trademark Running of the Balls event. The balls are numbered and, for $5 for one or $20 for five, people can adopt a ball. The owners of the first 20 balls to cross the finish line will receive prizes including season passes to all three ski resorts, day passes to Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons, gift certificates to local restaurants and Skullcandy merchandise.
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Following the bouncing bonanza, floats will line Main Street for the Funky Old Miners’ Day Parade. Then revelers will head to City Park for music, food, games and libations.
At 2 p.m., professional miners will wield their drills for the mucking and drilling competition. "That’s the highlight of the day," says Rametta. "If people haven’t seen it, they should really come out and watch. After all, Miners’ Day is all about celebrating Park City’s mining heritage."
This year’s competition will be stationed in the parking lot next to the skate park rather than at the library field so that activities are clustered in one area. Rich Martinez, who worked in the Park City mines for nearly 50 years, will emcee the contest, which is sponsored by Talisker, Inc. "We probably wouldn’t be able to put it on without Talisker’s generosity," says Rametta.
Last year, proceeds from Miners’ Day enabled the Rotary Club to give $1,000 grants to 15 local nonprofits. "This year, we’re hoping for better weather and hopefully we can match that or increase it," says Rametta.
Among the organizations that benefit from Miners’ Day are Arts-Kids, the Egyptian Theatre, Friends of Animals Utah, the National Ability Center, the Park City Education Foundation, Rosie’s Car Seats for Kids and the Park City Performing Arts Foundation. "Rain or shine, please come out and support Park City’s heritage and the local nonprofits," asks Rametta.
Entries for the parade will be accepted until Friday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. To enter a float, adopt a ball, or for more information about the 112th Miners’ Day celebration, visit http://www.parkcityrotary.com .
Miners’ Day event schedule:
7 a.m. – Pancake Breakfast at City Park
8:30 a.m. – Funky 5k Run at City Park
10:45 a.m. – World Famous Running of the Balls on Main Street
11 a.m. – Funky Old Miners’ Day Parade on Main Street
11:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Live music at the City Park stage
12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. – Kids’ races at City Park 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Mucking & Drilling Competition at the skateboard park parking lot