After more than a year of hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Massachusetts Antique Fire Apparatus Association is pleased to announce the return of the 44th Annual Antique Fire Apparatus Parade and Show to Wilmington on Saturday, September 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 old motorized fire apparatus.
Last year’s event was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic and replaced with a short ‘drive’ style ride through the city of Wilmington. The organizers are happy that this year’s event is shaping up to be better than ever.
âWe hope for a good turnout,â said James McGonagle, MAFAA board member. âThis will be the biggest event of its kind in our New England area since the onset of COVID, and we’re expecting people from all over New England. “
This fun, family-friendly event begins with the traditional parade of fire engines. Event planners expect 75-100 antique fire apparatus to participate in the parade.
The parade line is at 9 a.m. and the parade procession will begin at 10 a.m.
This year’s parade route is different from past events. The parade’s starting point is Shawsheen Street. Next, the parade will proceed to Rt. 129 to Rt. 38 to Rt. 62, then Federal Street to Concord Street, ending at the Shriners Auditorium, located at 99 Fordham Road in Wilmington.
Once at the Shriners Auditorium, the fire apparatus will be parked for display and voted for several different categories. Spectators are invited to walk around to see the device up close and talk to members of the organization. There will be plenty of photo opportunities with the fire trucks and several Clown Shriners will also be on hand to meet and greet the photo ops with the kids.
MAFAA members are also delighted to announce the return of the Antique Handtub competition. Hand-held tubs are the great-grandfathers of fire apparatus and were commonplace in fire departments before the days of motorized fire apparatus.
Handtubs required a team of men to hand pump water to put out the fire. The job of operating a handtub can be much more difficult than it looks, as all members of the handtub team must work in unison to get the right flow of water needed to put out a fire. .
The Handtub competition, sanctioned by the National Handtub League, is a fun event for everyone, and spectator participation is strongly encouraged to make this event a success.
The competition winners are determined by which handtub team can generate enough water to hit a target that is 200 feet in the fastest time. Those interested in participating in this competition can register on site for 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 on-site from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., featuring vintage and new fire collectibles, clothing, toys and more from vendors across New England.
Don’t forget to bring your appetite as a good selection of food and refreshments will also be available for sale.
Because this is a primarily outdoor event, there are no mask restrictions in place at the time of printing this article. Although the flea market area is indoors, the wall of garage doors that lines the back of the Shirners Auditorium will all be open to allow good air circulation in the area, and visitors are encouraged to distance themselves socially.
Admission to the parade, flea market, and fire apparatus exhibit is free.
All proceeds from the day’s event will be donated to the Shriners Transportation Fund. This fund costs nothing to patients or their families who require medical flights to Shriners Hospitals for treatment.
The MAFAA invites anyone interested in the history of firefighters to join its mission. For more information on this organization, or to become a member, visit www.massmafaa.com.