Tuesday, July 5, 2022

15th Coal Miner’s Heritage Festival July 10 at No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum

The 15th Annual Coal Miner’s Heritage Festival will be held on Sunday July 10, 2022 from 10 to 5 on the grounds of the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford, Carbon County, PA. 

This unique, fun and educational event celebrates northeastern Pennsylvania’s rich, Anthracite Coal region history, ethnic heritage, ethnic foods, folk music, hand crafts and customs.

It’s not too late to sign up as a vendor or crafter to participate in this year’s event on July 10. To register, email Dale at dalefreud@gmail.com or call him at 610-597-6722 and leave a message. “The Annual Coal Miners Heritage Festival is presented by the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford and is our largest annual event” said Dale Freudenberger, Secretary at No. 9. Admission to the festival grounds and parking are free and the event is held rain or shine. A variety of crafters, artists, vendors and regional organizations spread out over the sprawling green grass field at No. 9 Mine will be offering a variety of amazing goods for sale.

Visitors can take an underground tour of the No. 9 Coal Mine throughout the day for a nominal charge. The No. 9 Mine is the world’s oldest operating deep mine having been opened in 1855 by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company. It was last mined in 1972 by the Lanscoal Company. The guided underground mine tours 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 unique and rare items are on display.

The festival is held on the large sprawling grounds surrounding the No.9 Mining Museum. 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. Trophies will be awarded to the winners. The coal shoveling competition will begin at 2:00 and is free to enter.

Many interesting and fun exhibits will highlight our Anthracite 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. Children are encouraged to join in the fun! Other outdoor exhibits include local historical society exhibits, vintage coal region posters, a restored vintage mine lokie, an operating antique coal screen, a display of old time moonshine making equipment, the miners ‘bath day’ display, antique coal region beer trays exhibit, The Dorrance Mine Fan preservation project, and more!

A variety of great music typically found in the coal region will be featured throughout the day. It includes the WMGH Radio Polka Program live broadcast with Polka Joe Manjack. There will be singing and coal region storytelling by the popular “Breaker Boys”, Stu Richards and Tommy Symon. Acclaimed coal region Folk musician, balladeer, and clogger, Jay Smar will perform. His grandfather actually worked as a coal miner at No. 9 Mine for many decades. Mountain music man, multi-instrumentalist and teacher, Dave Matsinko will do strolling performances, and DJ Shawn Frederickson will play recorded classic folk and heritage music during the day.

Coal region historical re-enactors will stroll the grounds in their authentic coal patch town outfits and perform a skit. On display will be several early antique vehicles from the early 1900s, and a traditional home delivery hi-lift coal truck. There is no formal car show at this event.

If you don’t come for anything else, come for the great combination of homemade, coal region ethnic foods as well as other popular summertime festival foods offered up by local organizations and food vendors. The many goodies include halupki (stuffed cabbages), homemade pierogies in butter and onions, halushki made with homemade noodles and cabbage, open pit smoked beef brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, bleenies (potato pancakes), ham and bean soup, hamburger barbecue, funnel cake, Italian ice, ice cream, milkshakes and sundaes, gyros, stuffed grape leaves, chicken tenders, homemade potato chips, homemade lemonade, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, deep fried pierogies, mozzarella sticks, fresh made mini donuts, tabbouleh salad, keg tapped Ben’s birch beer and cream soda, Zimmerman’s iced tea, soda and fruit drinks, baklava, and other baked goods!

Plenty of children’s entertainment will be on hand including the popular old time coal sack races with prizes for the winners, a bounce house, kiddie train ride and other amusement rides, children’s games, and the popular “Buster the Clown” making balloon animals for kids.

Anyone who would like to register as a crafter or vendor or has questions about the festival, should contact Dale Freudenberger at dalefreud@gmail.com or by phone at 610-597-6722 and leave a message. Emails are preferred.

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