After over a year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Massachusetts Antique Fire Apparatus Association is happy to announce the return of the 44th annual Antique Fire Apparatus Parade and Show to Wilmington on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
The Massachusetts Antique Fire Apparatus Association (MAFAA) was founded in 1977 as a local chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motorized Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA). The purpose of this organization is to promote and preserve antique motorized fire apparatus.
Last year's event was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, and replaced with a short “drive by” style ride through the town of Wilmington. Organizers are pleased that this year's event promises to be better than ever.
“We are hoping for a good turnout,” said MAFAA Board of Directors member James McGonagle. “This will be the biggest event of this kind in our New England area since COVID started, and we are expecting people from all around New England.”
This family fun event starts with the traditional fire apparatus parade. Event planners are expecting a turnout of 75 to 100 antique fire apparatus to participate in the parade.
Lineup for the parade is at 9 a.m., and the parade procession will start promptly at 10 a.m.
This year's parade route is different from past events. Starting point for the parade is Shawsheen Street. Then the parade will proceed to Rt. 129 to Rt. 38 to Rt. 62, then onto Federal Street to Concord Street, ending at the Shriners Auditorium, located at 99 Fordham Road in Wilmington.
Once at the Shriners Auditorium, fire apparatus will be parked for display, and voted on for several different categories. Spectators are invited to walk around to see the apparatus up close and speak to the members of the organization. There will be many photo opportunities with the fire trucks and several Shriners clowns will also be on hand for meet and greet photo opps with the kids.
MAFAA members are also excited to announce the return of the Antique Handtub Competition. Handtubs are the great-granddaddies of fire apparatus, and were commonplace in fire departments before the days of motorized fire apparatus.
Handtubs required a team of men to pump the water by hand to extinguish the fire. The job of running a handtub can be much more difficult than it sounds as everyone on the handtub team must work in unison to get the proper water flow needed to extinguish a fire.
The Handtub Competition, which is sanctioned by the National Handtub League, is a fun event for all, and spectator participation is greatly encouraged to make this event successful.
The winners of the competition are determined by which handtub team can generate enough water to hit a target that is 200 feet away in the fastest time. Those interested in participating in this competition can sign up on site at the event before the start time of noon. Prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.
The annual flea market will also be set up onsite from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., offering vintage and new fire collectables, clothing, toys and more from vendors from all around New England.
Don’t forget to bring your appetite as a good selection of food and refreshments will also be on hand for sale.
Because this is a mostly outdoor event, there are no mask restrictions in place as of the printing of this article. Although the flea market area is indoors, the wall of garage sized doors that line the back of the Shirners auditorium will all be open to allow for good air flow in the area, and visitors are encouraged to socially distance.
Admission to the parade, flea market and fire apparatus display are free.
All proceeds for the day's event will be donated to the Shriners Transportation Fund. This fund assures no cost to patients or their families that require medical flights to Shriners Hospitals for treatment.
The MAFAA welcomes anyone with an interest in the history of fire service to join their mission. For information about this organization, or to become a member, visit www.massmafaa.com.