Tag: World History

Fort MacArthur heats up in 2018

Fort MacArthur heats up in 2018

If the heat yesterday wasn’t bad enough for you, how about this?

California heat wave. Open field war reenactments. Heavy wool historically accurate Civil War uniforms.

Fun, fun, fun.

Luckily I wasn’t one of the poor saps that had to stand around outside for hours in a heavy outfit. Instead I just got to go around and explore, migrating from shady spot to shady spot learning all about cool historical things.

That’s right, it’s Old Fort MacArthur Days time once again! If you missed out on the post I did last year showing off a slideshow of pictures I took, you can check it out here.

But for those of you who fit into the center of the Venn diagram between ‘not initiated’ and ‘too lazy to click the link,’ Old Fort MacArthur Days is a yearly event at the closed military base on the cliffs of San Pedro, California. People of all creeds gather in historical gear and bring a treasure trove of knowledge about whatever era of history they aim to represent.

It’s a really sweet two-day event that my family has been going to for probably five+ years now. Not only is it a good time wandering the grounds of the old base learning historical fun facts, but there are vendors and war reenactments that offer plenty of reasons to come back.

I’ve made it something of a tradition of mine to introduce new people to Old Fort MacArthur Days every year, as I think it definitely deserves the traffic and makes for a fun day of hanging out.

Even if these last two years have been face-meltingly hot. But that’s another story.

While I brought my friend Sam last year, this year Juan got to join in on the fun with me and Aly:

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Road Trip, baybee

Shout out to that boy for always being down to go on random adventures.

Also shout out to this great picture we took as a means of making Sam regret her decision to not come along again because of the heat.

We actually listened to a couple of really interesting figures today.

There was a Union commander for the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment that told us all about the very first attempt at using a submarine during the Civil War which failed spectacularly because of the unforeseen consequences of concussing every member aboard the vessel when an explosive went off too early.

Then we spent a good amount of time listening to the Barber Surgeon in the English Civil War region that told us infinite details about various surgical devices and how English superstition led to the creation of myths like the Tooth Fairy.

But of course we also can’t forget the Saloon owner in what I will affectionately call West World who handed out both lemonade and detailed descriptions of tabletop games kids would play in the 1800s.

While the discussions were all wonderful as ever, just as wonderful were the reenactments.

This year we only got to two of them before the heat knocked us out of our desire to stick around. We saw a World War II battle in which the American soldiers used an actual for real tank (which was awesome) to take a bill from German soldiers, and we saw the West World gun show where a man swindled some other cowboys from their money before being killed by his wife for using their daughter in the scheme.

I’m sure it’s great for you all to hear me just talk about the stuff we saw, but I figure I should do you one better and show off this neat slideshow of pictures with mediocre bits of commentary where I can fit it.

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Pretty cool stuff, right? It was totally worth probably getting a sunburn even through two coats of sunscreen to nab some of these.

Especially the cowboy gunshot I used as the attractive featured image. I love that sucker a whole bunch.

However, this year you should all be glad to know that I’ve stepped it up a notch.

Last year I took some videos that I considered putting in my blog post, but couldn’t quite figure out how to insert them here without blowing my storage out of control or having it take three days to upload.

Since then I have become a smarter man and now know how to use my gmail-associated YouTube account to my advantage.

So enjoy this video of the WW2-era tank in action:

And this video of a cowboy decimating a water bottle with a shotgun:

Plus, here’s a bonus video of another cowboy failing to fire his gun and getting ragged on by all the other cowboys:

I think my favorite part of that one is hearing Juan lose it next to me at the physician comment.

That’s about all I have to share from my trip to San Pedro this year. While I hope my pictures are a cool window into this little world that many of you probably haven’t seen, I really have to encourage everyone to check out this event at least once if they’re in the area at the right time!

It’s an awesome historical adventure that’s well worth the heat stroke. Something I’m sure I’ll say after I forget about how much I die in the heat and do it to myself again next year.

Old Fort MacArthur Days: A day of fun, sun and guns for the whole family

Old Fort MacArthur Days: A day of fun, sun and guns for the whole family

Who are these beauties you see above the title here? Why, that’s me and my little sister Alyson, dressed in 1940’s era attire. Both of us outside, at that. What could possibly bring us outside the comfort of our home on such a wonderful afternoon?

Plenty of things, actually. It was a really nice afternoon.

But in this case specifically, we were out and about with my good friend Sam at Old Fort MacArthur Days. Held at its namesake, Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, and spilling into the nearby Korean Friendship Bell, Old Fort MacArthur Days is an annual event where tons of people gather for a weekend to put on their finest displays of historically accurate military and era-specific gear so they can reenact events and educate the public.

Those are essentially the two major selling points of the experience. It’s huge in scale with tons of antiques and goods to sell, and each group has people manning the station that are veritable experts in the field they represent. You can stand around and ask the people in dress anything about the time period they’re dressed for and they’ll more than likely have the answer – and then some.

It’s a hard experience to explain for those who haven’t been, but my family has been going on and off for a long time now, as it’s definitely worth going as much as possible.

One thing the event suffered from this year was a blazing hot sun. For as entertaining as everything was, it was torture standing out in the open for the reenactments and listening to the representatives of the different eras. I can’t imagine what it must have been like standing around in heavy armor or old fashioned dresses and such.

Even without bulky clothing, I still managed to burn the hell out of myself out there. You can even tell in the featured image here, the back of my neck is red as it gets. As a result, I’ve been pretty exhausted and uncomfortable most of the afternoon, which is partially why it took until almost midnight to get something out about an event that ended at 4:00 p.m.

Because I’m still exhausted and also fairly lazy, I’m going to take the easy way out on this one and post a slideshow with all the cool pictures I got of all the booths so everyone can get something of an idea of what the event is like.

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If you like the kind of stuff you see here, I can assure you it’s an even better experience in person. Seriously, I wholeheartedly can’t recommend Old Fort MacArthur Days enough, and implore whoever can go to go next year.

If not for the scale and the educational value, at least for the glorious anachronisms.

Ben Franklin hanging out with Teddy Roosevelt? It’s there. Revolutionary soldiers calling for the death of a fallen gladiator? Got that. Roman children checking out World War II rifles as women in puffy colonial-era dress wander in the background? You know it.

Undoubtedly incredible.



I wanted to add an aside here at the end saying that I also have some pretty great videos showcasing some of the weapon demonstrations, a gladiator fight, the Civil War battle and a cowboy skit.

However, I haven’t been able to get it in a format where I can upload the videos easily yet. It’s actually part of the reason I’ve taken so long to write this, as a matter of fact. Until I figure that out I’m going to leave this here as a reminder that I’ll be adding them in once I do.