Where else can you find pirates and Nazis cuddling up to one another, Japanese and US soldiers sharing a Coke, pilgrims on cell phones, and grown adults playing war than at the Old Fort MacArthur Days in San Pedro? This weekend was the 20th anniversary of the mass gathering of reenactors and living historians from all eras.
While the event required a $10 admission fee (for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under), the value far exceeded that of any museum in Southern California. The reenactors far outnumbered the attendees, allowing for plenty of one on one conversations to learn about any period of history of interest. Many of the participants also camped out at Fort MacArthur over the weekend, living the lifestyle of their respective era for all to see – teepees and puptents were in abundance. The costuming and personalities were so convincing I was worried when a coughing pre-colonial woman warned me she had the plague.
At times the setting was just plain spooky when my entire eyeline was filled with reenactors from World War II against a vintage gun battery from Fort MacArthur. However, such ghostly illusions disappeared upon the sight of a pirate wench waiting in line for a Johnny Gump portalet right next to a Daughter of the American Revolution.