ELKTON — Scores of fire trucks from the present and the past will cruise into Elkton on Aug. 23 and 24 as Singerly Fire Company has partnered up with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the National Fire Heritage Center to host the inaugural Elkton Antique Fire Apparatus Muster.
The fire muster is like a car show, except it will feature antique firetrucks and vehicles from all over the country instead of classic cars. Over the course of two days, firefighters and spectators from all over the country will have the chance to walk along rows of vintage and new emergency vehicles.
“When we first started planning this, we were concerned that no one would show up. Now we’re worried about where to put them,” said Sam Goldwater, the chairman of the National Fire Heritage Center Board of Trustees. “We have people coming from Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and all over Maryland.”
Expected highlights of the muster include a 1919 Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine from Delaware, outfitted with a large chrome ball that held air that smoothed pressure fluctuations from the piston pump, and a 1957 Ford Ranchero that a Bel Air fire chief used in the day.
“Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company will be bringing up their chief’s vehicle so they can take a photo of the past and present side by side,” Goldwater said.
The event serves as a joint fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the National Fire Heritage Center, both based in Emmitsburg. The NFFF is a nonprofit that provides support for the families of firefighters who died in the line of duty, while the NFHC is a national archive for historic documents and other perishables related to fire protection history.
NFHC is currently courting Elkton for future use of the LTC James Victor McCool Armory on Railroad Avenue, and Goldwater said that this event will showcase why his organization is a perfect fit for Elkton.
“All the same points we discussed about the armory — its centralized location along Interstate 95, being close to New York City, Baltimore, D.C., — that all applies for Elkton as the site for this joint fundraiser,” he said.
The festivities start on Friday, with a cruise in of vintage, antique and new emergency vehicles from all over the country. Equipment will be parked near the intersection of Main and North streets, so that firefighters and civilians can mingle.
The area will be closed off, so Goldwater said that it will be a perfect opportunity for families and firefighters to mingle and enjoy Elkton’s establishments.
“You can get a beer from the North Street Hotel, and walk down and see the firetrucks, and maybe stop by the brewery. As for kids, it’s like a Norman Rockwell picture: they love firetrucks,” he said. “It’s a great chance for us to show off the firetruck history and for Singerly to show off the town.”
The muster will move to Singerly Fire Hall on Newark Avenue on Saturday, and a Firematic Flea Market will be held in the banquet hall. The flea market includes pieces of equipment and other merchandise for any firefighter looking to update its vehicle or someone looking for the perfect piece to complete the “man cave.”
Singerly FC and its Ladies’ Auxiliary will also be out on Saturday, selling barbecue and other treats. Live music will also liven up the festivities.
Goldwater said one item that people should keep an eye out for at the flea market is miniature models of fire apparatuses.
“You can’t buy that in a store, so these guys make these models from scratch,” he said. “They’re not for sale, but we’ve been in talks with the Cecil County Arts Council in featuring a few of them in the future.”
The inaugural Elkton Antique Fire Apparatus Muster runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Aug 23 on Main Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic.
The muster and Firematic Flea Market will be held on Aug. 24 at Singerly Fire Company, 300 Newark Ave. in Elkton. The Saturday event runs from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Admission to the flea market is $5, but the muster is free admission for all.
Donations to “Fill the Boot,” will benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Heritage Center and Singerly Fire Company.
Editor's note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly states that the 1919 Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine was from Singerly FC, not Delaware, and that Singlery FC and its Ladies Auxiliary would be selling food on Friday, not Saturday. We regret these errors.