“Fire & Ice” Fireman's Muster at Old Sturbridge Village July 14

Friday, June 22, 2012

Firefighters get 50% off admission
Antique fire engines, bucket brigades, chili contest, vintage ice cream making

(STURBRIDGE, MA) – June 22, 2012:  Firefighters get half-price admission to Old Sturbridge Village on Saturday, July 14 for an old-fashioned fireman's muster, "Fire & Ice Day" at the museum. Antique fire trucks will be on display, including vintage hand pumpers. Visitors can join in bucket brigades and pumping contests and watch old-fashioned ice cream-making using 19th century recipes. They can also taste local restaurant 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 motorized fire trucks will be featured, along with  older “handtubs," which were pulled by the firefighters themselves, who then pumped the long handles on each side, drawing water from the machine’s tub and spraying it onto the fire. Such machines required many volunteers to work the pump. First developed in the 1700s, these handtubs were a huge improvement over the bucket brigade method of firefighting and were used for nearly 100 years.

At the OSV Fire & Ice Day, visitors can take part in water bucket brigade contests, which are especially popular with children, and they can also try their hands at working these vintage hand-tubs, by pumping the wooden side handles, which are 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 pumpers a rest.

Old Sturbridge Village food historians will demonstrate 18th- and 19th-century ice cream-making methods using popular “receipts” or recipes of those periods. These recipes include some unusual flavors that were favorites in early America – ginger, asparagus, and Parmesan-flavored ice cream, which tasted a bit like cheesecake. Ice cream in the early 1800s was sometimes colored red or pink with cochineal dye, which was made from dried insects imported from Mexico. Visitors can watch the demonstrations of hand-cranked ice cream and also take home copies of the “receipts.”

Ice cream in the early 1800s was a rare treat, and usually reserved for the rich and royal. Before refrigeration became widely available in the 20th century, frozen products like ice cream were very expensive. The Romans made “sweet snow” and Europeans favored “water ice” in the 1660s and added cream to the recipe.  Ice cream in America dates to 1744, and became more popular with the masses after the hand-crank ice cream machine was patented by Nancy Johnson in 1846.

The third 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, Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center, Zorba’s Pizzeria and Tavern, Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center, and OSV’s own Oliver Wight Tavern and Bullard Tavern.

Old Sturbridge Village will also welcome several posts of Junior Fire Explorers on Fire & Ice Day.  These groups of young people volunteer with their towns’ fire departments and learn the skills of firefighting.

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.

# # #

Ann Lindblad
VP Communications
Old Sturbridge Village


Press Releases
The Old Sturbridge Village printer works the presses