SAAC: Checking out great Antique Firetrucks at the Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT... A positively great display of impressive vintage firefighting equipment, in a beautiful CT River Valley setting…
(this page new as of 12/28/2010)

Quick links for this page: Firetrucks at the MSJ Fall Festival and John Kuzminski commentary | Some notes about the 2010 Mount Saint John Fall Festival experience in general

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Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CTThis page could be subtitled: "John Kuzminski discusses the 'East of the River Classics' organization, the Antique Fire Vehicles from the 2010 Mount Saint John Fall Festival, and the Local Antique Firefighting Apparatus Hobby in general"...

We are extremely pleased finally to be able to put together a few of our firetruck-specific photos from the Mount Saint John Fall Festival that we attended, over in Deep River, CT, on Saturday, October 16th, 2010, along with expert commentary from our very knowledgeable antique firetruck buddy John Kuzminski of Killingworth.

In the weeks following the event I was able to make contact by mail, and later e-mail with Mr. Kuzminski (owner of the 1973 Maxim Ladder Truck that was displayed at the event; see below- click directly on the image or HERE to bring up a larger view), who was very gracious to answer all of my questions about the specific trucks displayed at the Mount Saint John event and also overall questions about his activities in the vintage firefighting apparatus hobby world. In the following paragraphs, we are quoting from a few different of John’s notes, received over a few-day period (excerpting from notes dated 11/20-11/24/2010):

“…You go to many of the shows we go to with the firetrucks…’Time Machines’ in Guilford, Middletown Historical Society, ‘Rollin’ on the River’ and many others… ‘East of the River Classics’ is a spin-off of the Connecticut Cellar Savers… That chapter (of the Society for the Preservation & Appreciation ofAntique Motor Fire Apparatus in America - is headquartered in Portland..."

Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT

"...I also belong to the Southern Connecticut Antique Fire Apparatus Collectors (also on the spaamfaa website). Scroll down to the bottom of thewebsite under members trucks ( and you will see all my trucks--they are headquartered in Milford…”

Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT

I also asked John to tell me some more in general about the “East of the River Classics” organization—he gave me these key bullet points…

“…Our Mission:

IMAGE BELOW: The beautiful hillside campus of Mount Saint John provided spectacular backdrops for photographing the three beautiful antique fire trucks that were assembled for the 2010 Fall Festival. Click directly on the overall image below (or HERE) to bring up a larger view of this same shot. The small gray speck within the green horizon in the distance that is slightly visible 2/3 of the way across the picture toward the right turns out to be Gillette Castle! Click HERE to see a shot of my '60 VW in the MSJ driveway that I took, to which I added an arrow to indicate Gillette Castle in the view.

Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT

John added further insightful thoughts about his activities in the local antique firefighting apparatus hobby world:

“…There is so much demand for the firetrucks, that our schedule is pretty much final by Easter. The Portland group has lost 8 trucks this past year…deaths, divorces, and lots of serious sickness. The Milford group is up and growing about 25 trucks…”

John also passed along a bit of info about the Dodge and Ford (and their owners, morespecifically) from the Deep River Mount Saint John gathering, about which I had also asked him:

“…The Central Stations mini pumper (1976 Dodge Power Wagon; see below) belongs to Barney Schnurbush from Middletown. He has 4 other trucks...

Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT

"...The Winslow truck (1947 Ford Champion Pumper; see below) belongs to Judd Tierney, from East Hampton. He used to hang around with us and travel to shows with us. His daughters bought him the truck about 8 years ago for Christmas. He has a ball with the truck. He is the oldest in the club and hardly ever misses a show or event..."

Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT

"...East of the River or the Conn. Cellar Savers has the largest firehouse in the state of Connecticut--about 25 trucks under one roof, all privately owned… Both gentlemen are new to the hobby and wish they had known about it years ago…”

And finally, kudos to John and his wife for their outstanding commitment to worthwhile humanitarian projects in general, about which he added this note:

“…My wife and another lady at church are doing a Christmas drive for the boys atM.S.J.; things like underwear, batteries, CDs, gloves, hats, etc… Vicki (fromMSJ) sent us a list with needs and sizes…”

Mount Saint John Fall Festival, Saturday, 10/16/2010, Deep River, CT“M.S.J.”, of course is Mount Saint John (“Family, Education, and Treatment Services for Boys,” located at 135 Kirtland Street Deep River, CT 06417, 860-343-1300), and we are again very pleased to pass along their website address, where you can learn more about how to make donations to this very worthy organization: (and their specific info page about donations is located at:

In closing, we wish once again to sincerely thank Mr. John Kuzminski for so graciously taking the time to answer our questions in such great detail, and of course for all the great things he does in his very busy and charitable-spirited antique firetruck hobby activities! Our hats are off to you and all of your fellow antique firetruck owners & enthusiasts!

Credit for identifying the antique fire vehicles featured in the photos on this page goes to John Kuzminski of Killingworth, who displayed his magnificent 1973 Maxim Ladder Truck, with “Greenwich, NY Fire Department” markings. The “Central Fire Company” 1976 Dodge Power Wagon Mini Pumper is owned by Barney Schnurbush of Middletown. The “Winslow Fire Protection District” 1947 Ford Champion Pumper is owned by Judd Tierney of East Hampton. Good show, gentlemen!

Some notes about the 2010 Mount Saint John Fall Festival experience in general:

What a nice ride out to Deep River is was that clear fall day, to attend the Mount Saint John Fall Festival at theirs pectacular hillside campus at the edge of the Connecticut River. I had only run across the listing for it the previous day (Friday 10/15), and did my best toget it onto the SAAC web site that same day (so that at least a few more folks hopefully had the opportunity to find out about it before the day of the event). A tip of the hat is definitely due to our friends at the CT Council of Car Clubs (a.k.a. “The 4-Cs,”,though, for getting the event onto their web site calendar, which is where I found it originally.

I took the old '60 Bug, which ran great, and drove mostly secondary roads on my way to Deep River, arriving around 11am or so. There were several old cars there, plus the above-described antique fire engines of course. Unfortunately a few of the old cars had left already by the time I got my camera fired up, but it was still a wonderful photo-op, not to mention the chance to chat with old car friends such as Bob Ruggiero (posing HERE with his super-cool '32 Graham) and Jack Tary (who drove his beyond-beautiful '53 Chevy Pickup--click HERE for a view of it)--also to meet Victoria McKenney of MSJ, who had been so helpful with e-mail responses to my inquiries about the event, the previous day. Here is one more shot I liked, featuring Bob's Graham, around the time he was getting on his way back home, and with Jack's Chevy pickup and one of the MSJ utility buildings in the background.

One thing in particular that bears repeating about the Mount Saint John campus is the view of Gillette Castle you can get from there—it was very cool (I again refer you to the shot I took of my '60 Bug in the MSJ driveway, with the Castle across the way indicated by an arrow).

The ride back to Stony Creek that day was just as enjoyable, with crisp, clear fall weather and some beautiful early-season foliage--what a great day to be out and about in an old car...

Thanks again to Victoria and the Mount Saint John folks for the warm welcome, and hats off to them for the good work they do with kids (be sure to check the MSJ web site for more info about the organization:

We will certainly do our best to find out about the Mount Saint John Fall Festival earlier next year, and then do our best to help spread the word to the local old car (& old firetruck) community!

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