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