A History of the Burnsville Fire Muster & Community Celebration
Over a four day stretch, Fire Muster features beer tasting, entertainment, fireworks, carnival rides, kids activities, emergency personnel demonstrations, food and beverages from local restaurants, a community parade, and, of course, the fire truck parade that started it all.
Burnsville, MN's community celebration began officially in 1980, evolving from a smaller, neighborhood-based activity. During the late 1970s, Burnsville resident and fire equipment collector Roger Jackson and some of his friends entertained children each summer by displaying his collection at what then known as Diamondhead Mall, capping the day with a short parade of equipment down Nicollet Avenue.
In 1980, as the community considered the possibility of a citywide celebration, Jackson suggested to a group of interested residents and business people that perhaps a fire muster patterned after fire musters popular in New England might work. City officials liked the idea and the Burnsville Fire Muster & Community Celebration became an official city event.
A nonprofit corporation was formed to organize the celebration. Dedicated volunteers, augmented by every nonprofit group in town, organized, promoted, and staged the event. Fund-raising proved to be an important and daunting activity. Business donations, button sales and income from concessions became vital funding sources, and continue to be to this day. Jackson and the committee envisioned a community block party, coronation of a queen and, most importantly, a parade of antique and modern fire equipment.
Dan Hendrikson, a former Burnsville Fire Department captain, was placed in charge of that parade and remained active in organizing Fire Muster events for over 20 years. Hendrikson was honored as the grand marshal of the fire truck parade held on September 11, 1999.
Burnsville's current Fire Chief, BJ Jungmann, along with members of his department is still in charge of the Fire Truck Parade. Though the first fire truck parade contained an impressive array of some 50 units, it now boasts more than 100. Equipment comes from throughout the Midwest, ranging from horse-drawn hand pumpers (circa 1900) to the latest in firefighting machinery. In 2004, the Fire Muster's Fire Truck parade was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the longest Fire Truck Parade in the World. Over 120 trucks were represented in that parade.