Beautiful blue skies welcomed hundreds of visitors to the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford for this past Sunday's "Old Fashioned Miner's Memorial Day Picnic"

In addition to enjoying a variety of homemade delicious ethnic foods at the Museum's picnic pavilion, visitors could tour the region's largest coal mining museum and gift shop.

Also, visitors could travel 1,600 feet into the bowels of the No. 9 Mine, however, contrary to popular belief, at the end of the ride into the Earth, the travelers had not actually gone "down into the mines".

Instead, they were now 8 feet "higher" up than they were when they entered the mine tunnel and there were two main reasons for this.

First, the downward 6 degree pitch out of the mine allowed water to drain naturally out of the mine using only gravity for an assist.

Also, upon leaving the mine with rail cars full of coal, the mules had an easier time pulling their heavy loads downhill rather than up an incline.

This modern day version of the "Miner's Picnic" harkens back to days long gone when the coal companies would shut down mining operations for one day and hold a picnic for the coal miners and their families.

The miners would dress in their "Sunday Best" for the picnic and they were treated to food, drinks and music.

These miner's picnics in the Panther Valley area were held at Greenwood Dam near Lake Hauto.

The picnic pavilion at Sunday's Memorial Day Picnic was actually brought from the site of those picnics of yesteryear to the present day site of the Museum.

A picnic similar to the Memorial Day event will also take place at the No.9 Museum on Sunday, September 5th in celebration of Labor Day.

In addition to that, on Sunday, July 11th of this year, the "Coal Miner's Heritage Festival" will be held at the Museum site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This weekend, June 4th, 5th, and 6th, there will be a Living History Weekend which will feature a Renaissance Fair which will actually include a real wedding on Saturday.

No. 9 Coal Mine member Dave Kuchta summed up the day saying that "we're well pleased, we had a good turnout, food sales were good, and visitors enjoyed the mine tours."

At last count, well over 130 people had taken the mine tour.

For additional information, you can call the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum at (570) 645-7074.