Old-Fashioned Fireman's Muster at Old Sturbridge Village July 20

Old-Fashioned Fireman's Muster at Old Sturbridge Village July 20

Firefighters get 50% off admission at "Fire & Ice Celebration"

Antique fire engines, bucket brigades, chili contest, vintage ice cream making


(STURBRIDGE, MA) – July 8, 2013:  Firefighters get half-price admission to Old Sturbridge Village on Saturday, July 20 for the museum's annual vintage fireman's muster, "Fire & Ice Day." Antique fire trucks, including early hand-pumpers and a rare 1921 Stuz fire truck, will parade around the Village Common and will be on display throughout the day. Visitors can join in bucket brigades and pumping contests and watch old-fashioned ice cream-making using 19th century recipes. They can also taste entries in the third annual Best Chili in History Contest and vote for the winner. For more information, call 800-SEE-1830 or visit www.osv.org.

Antique “hand tubs" were pulled by firefighters rather than horses, and were operated by pumping the long handles on each side, drawing water from the machine’s tub and spraying it onto the fire. First developed in the 1700s, these hand tubs were a huge improvement over the bucket brigade method of firefighting and were used for nearly 100 years. 

It took many volunteers to pump the wooden side handles, which were called "brakes." The phrase "take a brake" comes from the call for fresh volunteers to take a turn pumping ( to "take a brake") in order to give tired firefighters a rest.

The fourth annual Best Chili in History Contest is back by popular demand, and visitors can sample the entries from local restaurants and vote for the winner. Entrants include the Publick House, B.T.'s Smokehouse, Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center, Veritas, and OSV’s own Bullard Tavern. 

Junior Fire Explorers from several towns will compete in pumping contests and bucket brigades on Fire & Ice Day.  These groups of young people volunteer with their towns’ fire departments to learn firefighting skills.


Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country.  The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. seven days a week.  OSV offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $24; seniors $22; children 3-17, $8; children 2 and under, free. Woo Card subscribers get $5 off adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive $12 off adult daytime admission. For times and details of all OSV activities visit: www.osv.org or call 1-800-SEE-1830.

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