The 12th Annual Coal Miner’s Heritage Festival is set for Sunday July 14, 2019 from 10 to 5, on the grounds of the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford, Carbon County. This unique, fun and educational event celebrates northeastern Pennsylvania’s coal region history, ethnic heritage, food, music, art, crafts and customs.
Everyone is welcome! The Coal Miners Heritage Festival is presented by the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford and draws throngs of people each year to the popular event. Admission to the festival grounds and parking are free.
Underground tours of the No. 9 Coal Mine will be available throughout the day for a nominal charge. No. 9 is the world’s oldest operating deep mine having been opened in 1855 by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company and closed in 1972. The guided underground mine tours last approximately forty-five minutes and are available throughout the day. The average temperature in the mine is about 52 degrees so a light jacket or sweater are recommended. Visitors will ride into the mine in the safety of enclosed mine cars pulled by an original mine locomotive. The nearby No. 9 Coal Mining Museum, housed in the original 1912 brick miner’s wash shanty, houses one of the largest collections of anthracite coal mining artifacts, tools, photographs and memorabilia in the coal region. Many rare items are on display.
Many unique attractions and exhibits are offered as part of this year’s Coal Miners Heritage Festival. In keeping with the theme, the coal miner’s competition is always the most popular event. Anyone over the age of sixteen is invited to participate in the coal shoveling competition where competitors shovel a pile of coal in the shortest time. In past years, this had been a very competitive event drawing participants from all over the region. Trophies will be awarded to the winners. The coal shoveling competition will begin at 2:00.
Exhibitors, crafters and vendors will be set up on the grounds surrounding the museum offering a variety of handmade crafts and other sale items. There will also be a basket raffle tent featuring many donated prizes.
Many interesting and fun exhibits will highlight coal region heritage and culture. The old time ‘Wash Day’ demonstrations will show the evolution and chore of washing clothes by hand in the coal patch towns. There will also be an exhibit of artifacts and photos from the 1969 Paramount Pictures movie, “The Molly Maguires” filmed in the coal region. Other exhibits include 19th century death, mourning and funeral customs, local historical society exhibits, vintage coal region works of art, mine safety and rescue displays, a restored vintage mine lokie, an operating antique coal screen, a display of old time moonshine making equipment, the miners ‘bath day’ display, about 150 antique coal region beer trays on exhibit, and original antique coal company signs from more than 80 coal companies from the coal region.
A variety of great music typically found in the coal region will be featured throughout the day. It includes coal region folk musician and storyteller Van Wagner performing from 11:30 to 1:00. The WMGH Polka Program live broadcast with Polka Joe Manjack from 10 until 1:00. Coal region folk musician Jay Smar will perform from 2:30 until 4:30. Mountain music man Dave Matsinko will do strolling performances from 1:00 until 4:00. DJ Shawn Frederickson will play other classic coal region music during the day.
Coal region re-enactors will stroll the grounds in their authentic coal patch town outfits dressed as old time coal miners, the miners wives, and the wealthy mine owner! . They will perform a special skit at 1:00. A display of a few early antique vehicles from the early 1900s will be on the grounds, and a traditional modern home delivery hi-lift coal truck will be displayed.
A variety of homemade, coal region ethnic foods and other popular festival foods will be featured including Eastern European style halushki, Polish pierogies sautéed in butter, Middle Eastern shish kabobs, French Fries, cheese steaks, Italian meatball subs, spinach pie, Greek gyros, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, deep fried veggies, PA Dutch soft pretzels, tabboulee salad, Hawaiian shaved ice, PA Dutch funnel cake, cotton candy, home baked goods, baklava, Italian Ice, kettle corn and more!
Children’s entertainment will be offered including the popular old time coal sack races with prizes for the winners, several kiddie amusement rides, a train ride, bounce house and children’s games. Buster the Clown will be on hand making balloon animals, and doing face painting.
(Information from Dale Freudenberger )