July 11, 2021 - The 14th annual Coal Miners Heritage Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford, Pennsylvania.
The event celebrates Northeast Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region history, ethnicity, food, music, crafts and traditions. Exhibitors, crafters, vendors and local organizations will be offering a variety of goods for sale or display.
In keeping with the theme, organizers said the 2 p.m. coal miner's competition is always the most popular event of the day.
Anyone over the age of 16 is invited to participate in the coal shoveling competition to shovel a pile of coal in the shortest time.
In past years, this has been a highly competitive event, drawing participants from all over the region. Trophies will be awarded. There is no fee to enter.
Many exhibits will highlight the region's heritage and culture. Old time "wash day" demonstrations will show the chore of washing clothes by hand in the coal patch towns.
Other exhibits include local history, vintage coal advertising posters, restored vintage mine locomotive, operating antique coal screen, display of old time moonshine making equipment, antique coal region beer trays exhibit and a company store exhibit.
The Tamaqua Anthracite Model Railroad Club will have a large operating outdoor HO scale train display featuring coal region scenes.
Visitors will get a firsthand look at a project featuring the relocation and re-erection of two massive antique mine fans that were run by stationery steam engines and used to circulate air through coal mines.
The fans and steam engines were recently moved from Wilkes-Barre to the No. 9 Mine to preserve them, and will be part of a new fan house.
Coal region reenactors will stroll the grounds in authentic coal patch town outfits and perform a special skit at 1 p.m. Several antique vehicles will be on display.
The WMGH polka program live broadcast with Polka Joe Manjack will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Heritage music man Dave Matsinko will have strolling performances and DJ Shawn Frederickson will play other classic coal heritage music.
Coal Region foods, including homemade pierogies, halushki, halupkis and bleenies, will be available, along with beef brisket, pulled pork, funnel cake, Greek selections and more.
A variety of children's activities will be offered, including the old time coal sack races with prizes for the winners, a bounce house, games, a kiddie train ride and Buster the Clown.
Visitors can tour the No. 9 Mine for a nominal charge.
It is the world's oldest operating deep mine, having been opened in 1855 by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co. It was last mined in 1972 by the Lanscoal company.
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, contains 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.
Some of the unique coal region 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.