I heard about Old Fort MacArthur Days through seeing social media posts. I had intended to attend my first OFMD in 2018, but the date conflicted with Anime Expo. The spirit of OFMD was all about celebrating living history from different eras be it Ancient Rome, Medievals on horseback, World War II, Civil War, Revolutionary, and more. Historical displays and reenactments were commonly held. However, for 2019, OFMD had to scale back down on what they can have. The San Pedro fort could only host American units from World War I to Vietnam without reenactments. Suffice to say, this was a smaller, lighter event. This is my first year attending and while it wasn’t as grandiose as I’ve seen in photos, I do appreciate the fact I did get to go.
I wore my hand made US Navy WAVES uniform. Because I’m between a size 8 and a size 10, it’s hard to find vintage women’s uniforms in my size. I ended up making my own using reference photos I’ve collected. I always get compliments at events, but this was the first time I had someone nitpick the outfit. While it did trigger my anxiety and one of my fears at living history events (sadly, there are communities dedicated to nitpicking impressions), I’m still damn proud of making an outfit from scratch.
Old Fort MacArthur Days took place on the titular San Pedro fort. It was not too far from where I was driving from. It’s a hop, skip, and jump off the 110 freeway. Parking wasn’t too hard to get. However, there was not many people attending. I found more living historians than people attending for the sake of attending. It was an overcast day. I was worried that it was going to be hot as previous years. Turns out, it wasn’t the case! I was perfectly fine in my WAVES uniform.
I was in no rush to get into the fort. The event takes place right by a model train museum and a marine mammal care center run by LAUSD. While I was parking, I could hear sea lions at the marine mammal center. I was invited by the model train museum docent to check out the vintage train displays. I’m glad I was able to stop by both centers before checking out the fort.
Old For MacArthur Days was free to the public, but donations were highly encouraged. There were a few organizations having displays and demonstrations throughout the day. It did feel immersive from the areas that were set up. I did like looking at the makeshift mess halls, the red cross station, the Vietnam War corner, etc. It was relatively small and I felt you can see everything in two hours.
There were a few docent tours of the fort. I ended up checking out the communications room. This isn’t really open during the LA Air Raid, the other event hosted by the fort. It was pretty neat seeing things that aren’t always open.
There were a handful of vendors. The vendors sold mostly militaria accessories from mostly 20th century events from different fronts. There were a few booths selling pinup books, history books, movies, and model kits. However, most booths were cash only. There’s no ATM in the fort or surrounding area.
And More Photos…
Old Fort Macarthur Days was small, yet informative. I wish I could have seen OFMD in it’s full scale. Likewise, I’m glad I went to support a local South Bay event. I would like to try and check out more living history events. I do come from a costuming background, but I do admit I still get anxiety when I’m in new situations. My kind apologies if I came off as shy and or aloof! I really enjoyed seeing the displays and work that living historians have put into this event. While not as exciting or huge as LA Air Raid, I would recommend this to anyone in the greater Los Angeles who’s interested in history.