The Great Midwestern Handtub Fire Engine Exposition & Pumping Competition
Saturday, June 26th, 2004 • Aurora Regional Fire Museum • Aurora, IL
| General Handtub & Muster Informaton | Spectator Info |

Information for Participants

What . . . . . . When . . . . . . Where . . . . . . Who . . . . . . Why . . . . . . How



The Aurora Regional Fire Museum and Handtub Junction thank all who attended
the Great Midwestern Handtub Exposition and Competition, and we invite you
to see some pictures of the day in our
Handtub Expo Photo Galleries.

Ten engines from six states attended the Great Midwestern Handtub
Fire Engine Exposition & Pumping Competition

see a list and read about their history here


June 19, 2004 -- We have comfirmations from TEN (maybe eleven?) engines that will be pumping and TWO more that will be attending as static displays. See a list and read about their history here. . .

A list of the engines that will be pumping

 

May 26, 2004 -- We have verbal comfirmations from SEVEN (ours will make eight) engines that will be attending our event. Eventhough we know you're planning on attending, we still need you to fill out and return an official "Participant's Entry" form. Didn't get one? Need another? Download a "pdf" version. . .

Handtub Expo Participant's Entry Packet -- "participant_entry.pdf" (384k)

May 20, 2004 -- In the days of old, firefighting was an important civic responsibility. Now more than 150 years later, your local fire department, association or organization may demonstrate its community pride (and pumping prowess) by organizing a team and joining the Great Midwestern Handtub Fire Enjine Exhibition & Pumping Competition. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum and Handtub Junction will provide the fire engine and all the necessary equipment. All you need to bring is the pumping-power and enthusiasm. Interested? Download our . . .

Handtub Expo Local Team Entry Packet -- “team_entry.pdf” (544k)


On July 28, 1897, in the small town of Monmouth, Illinois, the hand-engine “Peoria No. 1” pumped a stream of 182' 6" -- thus winning that muster, yet ending an era of handtub competitions in the State of Illinois....
until now!

What... is planned?

The Great Midwestern Handtub Fire Engine Exhibition & Pumping Competition is a two-day event that will feature a nightime street festival, static displays of hand-operated fire engines, pumping demonstrations, a sanctioned Class “C” Handtub Tournament,“friendly” competitions between other class and sized engines, and more. Various types and sizes of hand-operated fire apparatus will be displayed, and the long tradition of fire “enjine” pumping competitions, and “visiting firemen” will be interpreted.

Friday • June 25th, 2004 --
Out-of-town teams should arrive on Friday afternoon so they can attend that evening's Downtown Alive! -- a huge, FREE, street festival with dozens of food vendors, beverage tents, kids games, and live music. It's “Jump, Jive, and Wail” night at Downtown Alive and between 6 and 10pm, thousands will hit the streets and dance the night away to the live music provided by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy -- a well-known national touring swing band that has appeared on the Tonight Show and during the Superbowl's halftime show. A special static display area has been arranged at this event for visiting handtubs and other fire apparatus. We'll have volunteers on-hand to “stand watch” and answer questions from the crowd, freeing some of your crew to enjoy the night's festivities.

Saturday • June 26th, 2004 --
The Exhibition and Pumping Competition will be held in the parking lot and adjacent streets near the Aurora Regional Fire Museum and Aurora's Central Fire Station. There will be a 10am planning meeting at the fire museum where we will determine the playing order, and outline the rules for those engines and teams new to pumping at a competition. The engines will begin pumping at 11am, and continue throughout the day. In addition to the old handtub fire engines that will be competing in this national tournament, various “friendly” challenge competitions between local fire departments and other civic organizations are being organized. The newly renovated Aurora Regional Fire Museum will be open throughout the day on Saturday, and there will be plenty of hands-on educational activities for kids (and kids at heart) -- including an old fashioned bucket brigade contest, mini water-barrel-fight, a dress-up area, and fire safety demonstrations. Refreshments will be available throughout the day (including fresh corn boiled using an antique steam tractor!)

Immediately following the pumping competition, participants are invited to join us for an informal, family-style all-you-can eat dinner and awards banquet to be held at the muster site. Arrangements are still tentative, but plan on spending Saturday night chatting with old friends (and making new ones), while having dinner and sharing in the fraternity of the fire service. Various non-competitive awards will be presented in addition to the first, and second place trophies for each of the various categories of participants. Remember, there hasn't been a hand-pumped fire engine muster in Illinois since 1897 -- so the winners will have plenty of boasting opportunities.


When... is it being held,
when should I arrive, and when should I leave?

Plan on arriving Friday afternoon (June 25th). The museum will be open for check-in and fire engine registration. That evening, the activities (and many of the hand-pumped engines) will move to "Downtown Alive!" where a special static display area has been arranged for visiting handtubs and other fire apparatus.

On Saturday, June 26th, 2004, there will be a 10am planning meeting, (at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum) and then the formal “pumping competition” will begin at 11am, and continue throughout the day.

If you don't need to leave town right away on Sunday, (or if you would like to come early), we would be happy to help plan an excursion into Chicago. Aurora is located just west of the City of Chicago and the museums/expo site is conveniently located near to the commuter train station.


Where... is Aurora, where do I stay,
and what else is there to do when I get there?

Aurora, Illinois is located 40 miles west of Chicago, just off Interstate 88 (also known as the East-West Tollway) -- see our Map, Directions and Accommodations page. We urge you to book your room now! There are several other large special events in the area and so hotel rooms are already at a premium. The many hotels are already sold-out!

The muster will be held on a historic, one-block long, brick-paved section of LaSalle Street adjacent to Aurora's Central Fire Station and the newly renovated 1894 Old Central Fire Station, (now home to the Aurora Regional Fire Museum).


The rear parking lot, adjoining park-lands, and
the brick paved LaSalle St. behind the museum
will serve as the venue for the Great
Midwestern Handtub Expo

For those not interested in “mustering” or touring the fire museum on Saturday, there are more than eight other museums in the Aurora area, ranging from art, to science, to children's activities, to history. There is even a military history museum where visitors can crawl through a WWI trench, land on the beach during D-day, and climb on a real tank! If shopping in more your style, the brand new Chicago Premium Outlet Mall is five minutes away by car and features 120 outlet stores. Those wanting to explore, can hop a train into downtown Chicago. Trains leave every hour, weekend rates are cheap, and the train station is just a block-and-a-half from the museum/muster site. Walter Payton's Roundhouse, (a restaurant and microbrewery complex with a Walter Payton museum and fantastic live entertainment every evening), and the Hollywood Casino, (one of Illinois top gambling establishments), are also within a block-and-a-half of the event.

For more details on the things to do in Aurora, visit: http://www.EnjoyAurora.com or download the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's new 2004 -- Aurora Area Travel Planner - “pdf” formatt, 4.6Mb


Who... is hosting the event,
and who is invited to attend?

The Aurora Regional Fire Museum, in partnership with Handtub Junction USA, and the North American Class “C” Muster Association, invite you to participate in the Great Midwestern Handtub Fire Engine Exhibition & Pumping Competition. This two-day event will feature static displays of hand-operated fire engines, pumping demonstrations, a sanctioned Class “C” Handtub Tournament, and “friendly” competitions between other class and sized engines. The event is open to anyone -- all makes, models, and classes (sizes) of hand-engines, from anywhere in the country.

We welcome and encourage fire departments with hand-operated fire engines from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, and all points North, South, East, and West -- to attend this unique Midwestern event

Groups of ten or more firefighters -- or those who want to play firefighter -- without a handtub fire engine, will be allowed to compete using the Aurora Regional Fire Museum's Button hand pumper, “Young America No. 2.” The Aurora Regional Fire Museum and Handtub Junction will provide the fire engine and all the necessary equipment. All you need to bring is the pumping-power and enthusiasm. Interested? Download our -- Local Team Entry Packet -- “team_entry.pdf” (544k)


Why.... are we doing this event,
and why should you attend?

One of the gems of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum's collection of fire apparatus is a 1850s era Button hand-pumped fire engine. While our building was closed for renovations, museum volunteers restored this engine back to its original appearance and operating condition. We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase both the newly completed building, and our restored hand pumper, by co-hosting the Great Midwestern Handtub Fire Enjine Exhibition & Pumping Competition .


Aurora Regional Fire Museum's 1850s Button handtub
Young America No. 2

Various non-competitive awards will be presented in addition to the first and second place trophies for each class of handtub. Remember, there hasn't been a hand-pumped fire engine muster in Illinois since 1897 -- so the winners will have plenty of boasting opportunities.


How . . . you can get involved!

It's not too late to join us! Take a moment and download our Participant's Entry Packet if you wish to bring and engine, or our Local Team Entry Packet if you'd like to participate with a team. (click on the links below). If you would like to attend, we urge you to make your housing reservations now, and fill out and return your entry form to us as soon as possible.

Handtub Expo Participant's Entry Packet -- “participant_entry.pdf ”(384k)

Local Team Entry Packet -- “team_entry.pdf” (544k)

Please, let us know if you have any further questions, comments, or requests. We're looking forward to seeing you all in June!

- David -
David Lewis, Curator
Aurora Regional Fire Museum
(and “Mascot” for the ARFM's Young America No.2 handtub)

e-mail: dlewisarfm@aol.com


| The old Handtub Expo "home/index" page | Handtub Expo Photo Gallery | Maps, Directions and Accommodations |
| Information for Participants | How does a Handtub work & What's a Fire Muster? | Information for Spectators |
| Handtub Junction USA - homepage | Aurora Regional Fire Museum - homepage |

Aurora Regional Fire Museum • PO Box 1782 • Aurora, IL 60507
Phone: (630) 892-1572 • e-mail:
ARFMinfo@aol.com