Transportation Museum’s Fire Truck Festival brings in thousands

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 27, 2023

SPENCER – Eighty-five fire trucks from all across the state came together in what the Transportation Museum dubbed “the hottest event of the year” for its annual Fire Truck Festival on Saturday.

The Transportation Museum began the festival began in 2015, making this the eighth year that the event has brought in fire trucks. According to Tyler Kent, a public information officer with the museum, the first event hosted just 12 fire trucks. Over 4,000 people attended this year’s event, Kent said.

“In just a few short years, it’s grown into our largest single event of the year, with more fire trucks and equipment, activities, and a parade,” said Kent.

The event stretched the entire length of the property, with vintage and modern fire trucks on display throughout almost the entire museum, including some of the indoor portion. The day also included many demonstrations of fire department equipment, such as a jaws of life demonstration, held next to the parking lot. The exhibit used a vehicle that was pulled from a junkyard to show how people trapped in cars are extricated.

Part of the fun came with the Charlotte Fire Department’s demonstration of Old Sue, a 1902 steam boiler fire engine. The museum also brought in an obstacle course, bouncy houses and other fun rides and events for the children who attended. At the end of the day, fire trucks pulled out of their display areas and lined up to form a parade that went down Salisbury Avenue and into the museum’s turntable, where they lined up in the bays.

Not all of the trucks at the festival were fire engine red however. Pink Cares Piedmont brought in a few fire trucks painted in different ways and named after individuals who have fought life-changing diseases or disorders. One was a pink fire truck named Hope after a girl fighting cancer. The other was covered in multi-colored puzzle pieces and named Blake after a High Point artist who is autistic.

“Some of the autistic kids who attend the events and see the truck are non-verbal. They see it and you kinda wonder what’s going through their mind, because they may not be able to say it. But the truck has some old fire truck equipment on it like hoses, and so I just want to give them an opportunity to see the truck, get on the truck and play with the truck,” said Chris McGee, a retired High Point firefighter who owns the two fire trucks.