Thousands attend 4th Annual Miners Festival in Lansford
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Gregory Badger, Collegeville, entertains visitors while playing his old time calliope.
Thousands of visitors enjoyed warmer weather outside, while over 500 took advantage of the cooler temperatures inside the mine during the Fourth Annual Coal Miner's Festival, held Sunday at the No. 9 Mine and Museum in Lansford.
Dozens of unique attractions and exhibits were offered as part of this year's festival. In keeping with the theme, the coal miner's competition and demonstrations were educational as well as fun.
Volunteer Dale Freudenberger, who helped coordinate the festival, stated, "This festival is a yearly celebration of coal region history, culture, crafts, ethnicity, art, food, music, and the environment."
The festival, which draws several thousand visitors every year, offered many attractions and exhibits, such as coal shoveling competition, Dr. Kelly's medicine show, music, foods, games, vendors, artwork, re-enactors from the Eckley Players, museum tours and much more.
A variety of children's entertainment was offered, including the popular old time coal sack races with prizes for the winners. Buster the Clown also made balloon animals for the children.
Other activities included face painting, rock painting, and sand art. DJ and volunteer Shawn Frederickson played the best of mining, railroad, bluegrass and polka music throughout the festival. Underground tours of the No. 9 Coal Mine were also available throughout the day. Exhibitors and vendors filled the grounds, and offered a large variety of homemade and traditional crafts and sale items, to include coal region T-shirts and souvenirs, coal region artwork, regional history books, handcrafted jewelry, reproduction coal region photographs and maps, reproduction vintage signs, cast iron toys, stained glass creations, wood crafts, rocks, minerals and fossils, wooden whirligigs, antique toy coal trucks, and coal souvenirs.
Also featured was the popular 'Breaker Boys' singing and performing coal region folk songs. Coal region vocalist Leilani Chesonis also made a special appearance. Visitors had a chance to see Gregory Badger, Collegeville, play unique melodies on an old time calliope.
Local artist Renee Novak featured a life-size painting on canvas titled 'Anthrasight' which will be displayed on the side of the loading platform near the mine entrance. A large variety of interesting and fun exhibits on display highlighted coal region heritage and culture. Included were private exhibits of coal region ethnic and cultural memorabilia, local history memorabilia from the Lansford area, a display of antique coal company signs from all over northeast Pennsylvania and many other items. Other popular attractions were the restored 1948 antique coal delivery truck from Heller Brothers on Northampton, a 1929 huckster truck, a 1933 Plymouth replica Coal & Iron Police car, a 1949 Chevrolet pickup truck selling bagged coal, and a 1946 Lincoln Zephyr.
Mine Safety and Rescue displays included a restored vintage mine train, an antique moonshine still, the miners 'bath day' display and a 'wash day in the patch' display.
Freudenberger stated, "I'm very pleased with the festival's great attendance and all the volunteers the put it together."
David Kuchta, mine president for 11 years, also stated his appreciation to everyone who attended and all the volunteers. No. 9 is the world's oldest deep mine, having been opened in 1855 by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company and closed in 1972.
For more information about the No. 9 Mine and Museum, visit its website at www.no9mine.com