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

Information for Spectators

Schedule of events . . . . . . Parking . . . . . . . From out of town? . . . . . . Want to do more than watch?

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

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

SEE pumping demonstrations using hand-operated fire engines dating from the 1800s

WATCH more than ten handtub fire engines from five states compete in a national tournament

WITNESS the "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

EXPERIENCE community pride, good sportsmanship, and firefighter camaraderie

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

Friday --
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.

Saturday --
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 at heart).

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 Map, Directions and Accommodations page. or follow the signs posted the day of the event.

Coming from out of town?
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 - (4.6Mb)

Wanna do more than watch?
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 -- 856K)

or send us an e-mail:

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)


| downoad a "pdf" version of this poster - (176k) |

| 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: