July 8, 2021 - The 14th annual Coal Miner’s Heritage Festival will be held this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual event is presented by the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford and is their largest event of the year. This unique, fun and educational event celebrates northeastern Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Coal region history, ethnicity, food, music, crafts and traditions.
Exhibitors, crafters, vendors and local organizations will offer a variety of goods for sale or display. Crafts and sale vendors will be offering handmade wood items, country and primitive decor, a variety of handmade jewelry, coal region shirts and souvenirs, vintage coal mining artifacts for sale, beeswax and honey products, scented candles, melts, nature and historical photographs, holiday decorations, historical books, leather and metal crafts, witches and pirates, popular resin sculptures, ring bombs, and knitted and crocheted items.
Some of the organizations which will be participating include the National Museum of Industrial History, the Wanamie No. 1 Project, Lansford Historical Society, local fire companies, Cub Scouts and more.
The coal miner's competition is always one of the most popular events of the day.
The Coal Miners Heritage Festival is held on the sprawling grounds surrounding the No. Coal 9 Mine and Museum. In keeping with the theme, the coal miner’s competition is always the most popular event of the day. Anyone over 16 is invited to participate in the coal shoveling competition where competitors shovel a pile of coal in the shortest time. Trophies will be awarded to the winners. The coal shoveling competition will begin at 2 p.m. and is free to enter.
Many 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. Other exhibits include local history exhibits, vintage coal advertising 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 Company Store exhibit and more.
The Tamaqua Anthracite Model Railroad Club will have a large operating outdoor HO scale train display featuring scenes in the coal region. Also, visitors will get a firsthand look at a new project underway at the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum featuring the relocation and re-erection of two massive antique mine fans that were run by stationary steam engines and used to circulate air through coal mines.
The two historic mine fans and steam engines were recently moved from Wilkes-Barre to No. 9 Mine in order to preserve them. Visitors will be able to view the massive iron metal parts that were disassembled in Wilkes-Barre and now await rebuilding within a new fan house as part of the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum growing complex.
A variety of music typically found in the coal region will be featured, including the WMGH Polka Program live broadcast with Polka Joe Manjack from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Throughout the day there will be performances and storytelling by the famous “Breaker Boys,” Stu Richards and Tommy Symon. Heritage Music man Dave Matsinko will do strolling performances, and DJ Shawn Frederickson will play other classic coal heritage songs and music.
Coal region re-enactors will stroll the grounds in their authentic outfits and will perform a special skit at 1 p.m. On display will be several antique vehicles including a 1920 Lehigh and New England Railroad model T pickup truck, a 1946 Old Company’s Lehigh Coal pickup, a 1950s Fauzio Strip Mining pickup, a 1920s Studebaker family sedan, and an early 1970s restored hi-lift coal home delivery truck from Rarick’s Coal. There is no formal car show at this event.
Come for the combination of homemade, coal region ethnic foods as well as other popular summertime festival foods offered up by local organizations and quality food vendors.
A variety of children’s activities will be offered including the popular old-time coal sack races with prizes for the winners, bounce house, children’s games, kiddie train ride and “Buster the Clown.”
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. Everyone must wear a mask on the mine tour or while in the museum.
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.