SPAAMFA’s 2012 National Muster. Photo courtesy of Dan Jasina.
What do fire apparatus do? They spray water by the ton onto raging flames, or extend ladders so that panicked victims can be plucked from the windowsills of blazing buildings. So, what do you call it when a bunch of old fire trucks, their owners and enthusiasts get together? Why, it’s a muster, mister!
And this year’s biggest annual East Coast muster begins Wednesday, August 10, in Middletown, New York, and runs through Saturday, when the rigs will parade through town and then strut their stuff with the water flowing. This is the 2016 Annual Convention and Muster hosted by SPAAMFAA (pronounced spa-ma-fa), the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, the nation’s leading organization for owners and admirers of classic fire trucks from the past. The Middletown Muster is being co-organized and sponsored by the Fairchester Hose Haulers, the local SPAAMFAA chapter.
The F.D.N.Y’s Super Pumper, the most powerful fire engine in history, is set to make an appearance. Photo courtesy Walter McCall.
Like many antique vehicle events, the muster is divvied up into field trips and seminars during the earlier part of the week with pre-registration journeys set to West Point, fire museums and the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. But the big action is Saturday, with a parade through Middletown starting at 9 a.m. and heading to the operating muster from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. That muster, incidentally, will be held at The Truck House, the home of fire enthusiast Andy Lieder’s collection, which runs into three digits’ worth of historic fire apparatus including several one-of-one pieces.
The Truck House is located at 2618 Route 302 in Middletown, just off Exit 119 of state Route 17. Middletown is located in Orange County, New York, northwest of New York City, off Interstate 84 (which connects directly with Route 17), the superhighway that links Newburgh, New York, with the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre region of Pennsylvania. For more information and a full schedule, visit SPAAMFAA.org or FairchesterHoseHaulers.org.