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Park City celebrates Miners Day with Running of the Balls, mining demonstrations

Running of the Balls on Park City's Main Street Sept. 4, 2023.
Ashton Edwards
The Running of the Balls is one of the Miners Day signature events and Park City Rotary’s largest fundraiser.

The Miners Day celebration on Labor Day is touted as the longest-running event in Park City with fun for all ages.

In Park City, Labor Day is synonymous with Miners Day. The revelries for this 127-year-old celebration include the Running of the Balls, live music, mining demonstrations, a parade and a free museum tour.

The event is a nod to Park City’s silver-rich mining history. According to the Park City Chamber of Commerce, 300 mines once operated in the area. Today, 20 historic structures remain intact thanks to dedicated local preservation committees.

According to Rotarian Corrie Forsling, Miners Day will be a full day of family fun. “We start the morning with the pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in City Park. Then we have the Park City 5k that's happening with the Twilight Rotary Club that starts at 8 a.m. and you can still register for that. Then the Running of the Balls at 10:30 a.m., followed by the parade at 11 a.m.  And then all afternoon in the park as well. Lots of fun and festivities.”

The Running of the Balls is one of the day’s signature events and Park City Rotary’s largest fundraiser. Unlike its Pamplona counterpart, the bulls are swapped for 15,000 balls and Park City’s sloped Main Street becomes the race arena.

“The prizes this year for the Running of the Balls are really great," said Forsling. "The best list I've ever seen. We have season passes for Deer Valley and the Epic Pass. So we always have hotels and an e-bike. We have a backyard concert experience, tons of restaurants and massages and lodging so it'll be a lot of fun.”

And it’s all for a good cause.

“With the full event, we raise about $60,000 annually with the Running of the Balls, our sponsors and we're also selling T-shirts on Main Street this year.," said Forsling. "All of that goes entirely to our community nonprofit grants and our scholarship program.”

Park City Special Events Manager Jenny Diersen said the Utah Wing of the Commemorative Air Force will do a flyover. There will also be a rare glimpse into a beloved historic building.

“Sally Elliott and a team of her volunteers will be at the Miners Hospital which will be open for tours, which is pretty rare," said Diersen. "Most of the time, the community can't go through because there’s things going on in there.”

Have you ever wondered how they extract silver from ore? At 12:30 p.m. in City Park, mucking and drilling demonstrations will shine a light on those dark early days in Park City’s 1,200 miles of tunnels.

Road closures Monday will include all of Main Street, Park Avenue and the south end of City Park. All of the surface lots on Swede Alley will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be free parking and free transit from Richardson Flat and Park City High School. There will also be a bike valet on lower Main Street at 9th Street.

Balls for the Running of the Balls can be purchased at Park Silly Sunday Market or at the appropriately named website, buyballs.org.