You've never seen a muster day?
You've never been to town?
To watch the Vets march down the way
and see them "break her down?"
You've never seen the marching throng
and heard the thrilling bands
The tubs the "red shirts" drag along
with strong and willing hands?
You've never heard the gladsome yell
I tell you that's the best
when some stray drop of water fell
an inch beyond the rest?
You've never seen the red backs bend
their heels kicked in the air
Nor watched the stream the hosemen send
go seething straight and fair?
You've never seen the joyous crowd
that finished up the day
with cheers of victory sounding loud
and turned the night to day?
If this you've missed in times gone past,
life has indeed been vain
Be glad you've had the chance at last,
thank God it didn't rain.
-- 1908, unknown author
demonstrations using hand-operated fire engines dating from
WATCH more than
ten handtub fire engines from five states compete in a
"friendly" challenge competitions between local fire
departments and other civic organization
PARTICIPATE in an
old fashioned "Bucket Brigade"
TRY our hands-on
educational activities for kids
EAT fresh corn
boiled using an antique steam tractor
TOUR the newly
renovated Aurora Regional Fire Museum
JOIN us for an
evening pig roast and awards banquet
community pride, good sportsmanship, and firefighter
Come join us for the Great Midwestern Handtub Fire
Enjine Exhibition & Pumping Competition -- the first
handtub fire engine competition in the State of Illinois
since 1897! This two-day event will feature displays of
hand-operated fire engines, pumping demonstrations, a
national handtub tournament, and "friendly" competitions
between other local fire departments and civic teams. The
event is open to anyone -- and engines from as far away as
New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts will be
attending this unique event.
Schedule of events
Out-of-town teams will arrive on Friday afternoon. The
Aurora Regional Fire 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.
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. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum will be open,
refreshments will be available, and there will be of plenty
hands-on firefighting related activities for kids (and kids
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, second,
and third 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 &endash; so the
winners will have plenty of boasting opportunities.
FREE parking for Saturday's exhibition and
pumping competition will be avaliable in the Metra commuter
parking lot located (half a block from the muster sit) at
the corner of Spring Street and Lincoln Ave. See our
Directions and Accommodations page. or follow the signs
posted the day of the event.
Coming from out of
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.
If you are from out of town, and don't need to leave right
away on Sunday, (or if you would like to come early), there
is lots to do in the Aurora Area, or we would be happy to
help plan an excursion into Chicago. Contact the Aurora
Area Convention and Visitors Bureau or download their
new 2004 Aurora
Area Travel Planner.pdf -
Wanna do more than
If all this stuff sounds like fun, but you'd like
to do more than watch -- here is your chance. Groups of ten
or more firefighters -- or those wanting to play firefighter
-- without a hand-operated fire engine, will be allowed to
compete using the Aurora Regional Fire Museum's Button hand
pumper, "Young America No. 2"
Download our: Local Fire
Deparrtment and Civic Team Entry Packet ("pdf" version --
or send us an e-mail: ARFMinfo@aol.com
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)